Time to check your software's best before date!

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I’m going to start with a bit of a weird analogy - computer software is a little bit like your store cupboard at home...

If a jar of spice looks ok and seems to smell and taste the same you keep using it. You know it’s a little bit old but you’ll get around to a new jar at some point. The reality is it’s a false economy – you’re not getting the flavour (performance) and god forbid you might even get a bug or two setting up home in it!

It’s the same with software – your old version of Office works ok-ish. You can cope with it and it does what you need. But by using out of date software you're probably making things harder on yourself with fewer functions and software that is more likely to crash and lose that document you've been working on. Unsupported software can also lead you open to bugs and viruses that no organisation wants!

The reason I am highlighting Office, in particular, is that Microsoft Office 2010 is scheduled to end on 13th October 2020, with no extension or extended security updates from Microsoft. After that date, it will continue to work and you won't notice anything at first. But as you won’t be getting any updates it is a security risk and you’re much more likely to get a cyber-attack (viruses, malware, etc!).

First things first, you can check what version of office you are using by simply looking at your programme menu – for example, my version of Word says – 'Word 2016' so I know I am using the 2016 edition. You can also find this out by opening one of Microsoft Office's programmes like Word or Excel and clicking on 'File' and then 'Account' under 'Product Information' you will be able to see what product version you are running. 

If you do discover that you are using a version of Office that is due to go out of date don't panic!

Microsoft offers a range of reduced price or even free versions of Microsoft Office depending on your organisation size and need. You can find out more details about this via the Charity Digital Exchange. Or you may choose to go to another provider like Google and their G-Suite offer which depending on your needs includes free and heavily discounted licenses too.

Still unsure of what package or software is best for you?

Well if you haven't got an IT provider as an organisation there is independent support out there. As part of 10GM, we have partnered with Tech for Good Live who are a community of people with a range of digital skills that want to help charities and groups. You can find out more and Register for tech help here.

There are also national programmes such as Digital Boost which match organisations in need with digital experts to offer one to one conversations and practical webinars for free. Digital Candle which is also a free service, linking charities needing support with digital experts able to provide an hour’s consultation and advice.

Last but certainly not least, if you do need funding to help you upgrade your software as an organisation Salford CVS Digital Response Fund is currently live!  The Covid-19 Digital Response Fund is awarding grants of up to £2,500 for Salford-based VCSE organisations who are supporting beneficiaries most affected by Covid-19 and purchasing software is one of the many things covered by it.

As always if you have any questions or queries our development team are always here to help. Call 0161 787 7795 or email office@salfordcvs.co.uk.

if you are curious about exploring digital more broadly our Digital Library is always expanding with resources and tools that may help and inspire you!

Salford CVS
Author: 
Marie Wilson, Strategic Lead

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Salford CVS is the city-wide infrastructure organisation for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector; providing specialist information, advice, development support and opportunities for influence and collaboration.

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I’m going to start with a bit of a weird analogy - computer software is a little bit like your s