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Category: Act! Tips
Written by Ken Quigley
April 29 2024

With the countdown to the July 9th end-of-life of SQL 2014 well underway, it is useful to review the risks of continuing to use unsupported versions of SQL. Here are some reasons why it’s crucial to avoid using them:

  1. Security Vulnerabilities: Unsupported versions do not receive security updates or patches, leaving your system exposed to new threats. This can lead to serious security breaches, potentially disrupting operations, damaging corporate reputation, and causing substantial financial losses.

  2. Compliance Issues: Running an unsupported database may result in non-compliance with regulatory requirements, which can have legal and financial repercussions. You must ascertain your compliance requirements to avoid penalties if you operate in the financial, health, and mortgage industries or within the public sectors.

  3. Upgrade Complexity: Running an unsupported version of the SQL Server may prevent you from upgrading your operating system or deploying it on newer workstations. For instance, SQL 2014 and 2016 are incompatible with Windows 11 and Windows Server 2019, meaning all 32-bit versions of Act! cannot be installed on new computers or servers. This obsolescence can seriously impede your efforts to upgrade other parts of your network, and force you to continue using obsolete Operating Systems longer than is practical or safe.

  4. Inability to Leverage New Features: Unsupported SQL versions cannot take advantage of the latest features or innovations. This includes performance, scalability, and analytics capabilities offered by modern data platforms.

To mitigate these risks, it’s important to plan and execute an upgrade or migration to a supported version of SQL. Modernizing your data platform enhances security and compliance and ensures that you benefit from the latest technological advancements.

What are your Options?
For users of 32-bit versions of Act!, particularly versions 23 and earlier, the discontinuation of SQL 2014 serves as a critical alert. Post-July 9th, the path forward is straightforward, encapsulated in four choices starting with ‘U’: upgrade, update, unplug, or uninstall.

  • Upgrade Act!: Opting for a 64-bit variant of Act!, whether you prefer an on-premises solution or a cloud-based one, will protect you from the aforementioned issues. Transitioning to Act! Premium Cloud (exclusively web-based) circumvents the problem altogether, as it eliminates the need for SQL on your local network.
  • Update SQL: Upgrading from SQL 2014 to SQL 2016 is a temporary fix, as it ensures continued security support for an additional two years. Although the hazards noted in points three and four remain, the immediate concerns highlighted in the first two points will be deferred.
  • Unplug your computer from the Internet: computers that are completely offline do not face any risk of Internet attacks, so if you have a computer that is just used for Act! data retrieval, notes & history, unplug it from the Internet, and carry-on with confidence.
  • Uninstall Both: Former Pro and off-plan Premium often retain Act! for archival use. However, this practice becomes untenable for any system connected to the internet after July 9th, due to the heightened risk of exposing SQL data to online threats such as viruses, malware, or bots. Should Act! no longer be actively used, it’s advisable to remove both the application and its SQL component.

The option to "ignore" is conspicuously absent because it is NOT an option. Microsoft’s 10-year product lifecycle makes these end-of-life events critical. While Keystroke recommends upgrading to Act! Premium Cloud, it’s important not to dismiss this as a scare tactic since most of the options listed above can be implemented without cost.

The risk is real. Act! accordingly.

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