In the world of software, upgrades are a common occurrence. For organizations using Umbraco 7, the end of official support has spurred discussions about migrating to newer versions. However, this rush towards upgrading can lead to unnecessary expenses and complications. This article aims to challenge the notion of mandatory upgrades and presents an alternative - establishing a partnership with a reliable maintenance provider to ensure your Umbraco 7 platform remains secure, efficient, and in line with your business objectives.
Acknowledgment of concerns
The cessation of official support for Umbraco 7 at the end of September 2023 raised valid concerns among its users. Does this mean we now have to upgrade, what if we can't afford to, are we now vulnerable to attack, will our site stop working?
This move by Umbraco to stop providing support can potentially expose the platform to security risks, especially given the lack of official updates to counter new threats. However instead of just dismissing these concerns, it's crucial to understand and address them to provide a solid foundation for the arguments against mandatory forced upgrades. Many of the big Umbraco agencies are pushing out scare tactics to try and instil fear into Umbraco 7 (and older) website owners when there is no real need to.
Customised security measures
Many of the issues can be mitigated by getting together with an Umbraco partner agency that will still be happy to support these older versions and help you over the coming years to manage them effectively.
A proficient maintenance partner can implement custom security measures including potentially back-porting security patches from other versions (if applicable or even practical) or creating bespoke solutions to address vulnerabilities by implementing other 3rd party strategies to deal with incoming threats. Their expertise plays a pivotal role in safeguarding your platform, making the absence of official updates a lesser concern.
Should I be upgrading though?
Upgrading to newer versions of Umbraco brings about various advantages, as outlined below:
- Improved Performance:
- Newer versions of Umbraco have been optimized to resolve speed issues and enhance platform performance, making websites run faster and more efficiently. However, this does not mean your current website is slow and if there are performance issues in the front end, upgrading will not necessarily improve things.
- Updated versions of Umbraco contain bug fixes and security improvements that bolster the security of the website, making it more robust against potential threats - these would only apply for netcore versions, Umbraco 7 and 8 are still on the old .net Framework platform so a completely different codebase.
- Newer versions introduce various feature enhancements. For instance, upgrading from Umbraco 7 to Umbraco 11 brings significant changes within the .NET core framework and the CMS's database structure, introducing a visual update to the back office, an "Element Type" feature, nested content, and the Models Builder, among others. Some of these are still available in different guises in older versions and if your site is already built and running, the fact that new nested content or models builder functionality will make no difference to your current site at all.
- Upgrading allows users to leverage the latest technology stacks. For example, Umbraco 12 runs on the latest version of .NET (7) and introduces a new headless Content Delivery API, EF Core Support and much more, which could improve the development experience and offer new capabilities should they be required.
- With newer versions, users can benefit from ongoing support and maintenance, which might not be available for older versions (but discussed in detail in this article). This could be crucial for addressing any future issues and ensuring the platform remains updated and secure.
- You may find that your current agency will no longer provide support and only wishes to deal with newer versions. In this case, you either have the option to spend thousands upgrading and staying with them, or finding a new partner like us that will support your existing site.
- As technology evolves, upgrading to newer versions can ensure that the CMS remains adaptable to emerging technologies and standards, thereby futureproofing the platform against obsolescence.
These advantages underscore the potential benefits of upgrading to newer versions of Umbraco. However, the decision to upgrade should be weighed against the costs, the learning curve, and the specific needs of the organization.
In an ideal world, upgrading to a newer version brings lots of advantages as discussed previously, however upgrading to a newer version entails significant costs i.e. potential licensing, additional hosting requirements, development, and potential downtime to name a few. Conversely, maintaining the current version with a trusted partner is often a more cost-effective solution. In the long run, the financial benefits of sticking with Umbraco 7 could be substantial, freeing up resources for other critical business needs.
Eventually there will be a point where your existing site does need to be updated to a new design / version. It's only at that point, you should be considering an upgrade to the newest version of Umbraco.
A seasoned maintenance partner can provide tailored solutions that align with your existing systems and specific business objectives. Newer versions often come with features that may not be necessary for all businesses, adding to the complexity without delivering value.
A personalized approach ensures you get what you need, without the extras you don’t.
Business continuity is a paramount concern for organisations in the digital age, and having a trusted maintenance partner is instrumental in achieving this objective. A dedicated maintenance partner can provide ongoing support, updates, and necessary enhancements to your website, ensuring it remains robust, secure, and efficient over time. This level of support not only addresses the immediate technical needs but also fosters a stable digital environment where businesses can thrive and grow.
The beauty of this partnership is that it empowers organisations to have control over their upgrade timeline. They can meticulously plan and execute upgrades on their own terms, aligning them with their strategic goals and budgetary considerations. This is a stark contrast to being propelled into upgrades due to external pressures, fear of security lapses, or perceived obsolescence often associated with older software versions. The latter scenario can lead to hasty decisions, unforeseen costs, and potential operational disruptions, which could be detrimental to business processes and customer satisfaction.
The value of a long-term relationship with a maintenance partner cannot be overstated. This contrasts sharply with the risks associated with engaging a new agency that might push for an upgrade for their own benefit, not yours. A dedicated partner works to understand and meet your evolving needs over time.
Here at Simon Antony believe in a collaborative approach when it comes to decision-making around upgrades. We work closely with our clients to comprehensively evaluate the pros and cons of upgrading versus maintaining the existing Umbraco 7 setup. Our objective is to ensure that our clients make well-informed decisions that are in the best interest of their organisation's long-term success. We provide clear insights, practical advice, and continuous support, ensuring that the decision to upgrade or maintain is well-thought-out, and the execution of this decision is seamless and beneficial.
Through this approach, we aim to demystify the upgrade dilemma and provide a path that prioritises business continuity, operational excellence, and cost-effectiveness. Our goal is to stand by our clients at every step of their digital journey, providing a reliable technical foundation upon which they can build their future success.
Offering a comprehensive maintenance plan
A comprehensive maintenance and support plan manifests our dedication to preserving the robustness and security of your Umbraco 7 platform. This plan will lay out a clear strategy encompassing regular security audits, performance monitoring, and ongoing optimisations. Security audits are essential in a digital environment where threats constantly evolve, helping to identify potential vulnerabilities and ensure adherence to industry-standard security protocols. On the other hand, performance monitoring helps in early detection and rectification of issues impacting the website's loading speed, responsiveness, or overall user experience, thus maintaining an efficient and reliable platform.
The emphasis on ongoing optimisations within the maintenance plan demonstrates a proactive approach and is how we like to work. Optimisations like code refinement, database tuning, and other technical enhancements ensure the platform remains agile, capable of handling evolving demands efficiently although these need to be balanced carefully to offer a ROI, no point spending hours of additional development time to get miniscule performance improvements that will not help the end user visiting the site!
This proactive stance towards maintenance, backed by a well-articulated plan, instils confidence in our clients. It signals a readiness to stay ahead of potential issues, fostering a sense of trust and reliability. This approach showcases a pathway for our clients to keep their legacy Umbraco platform secure and efficient, aligning with their long-term operational and business goals without the urgency of an immediate upgrade.
We still have clients using Umbraco 3, 4, 6, 7 & 8 on our support programs - why not join them?
Explore secure, cost-effective solutions for your Umbraco platform
We understand that the thought of navigating the digital landscape with an out-of-support Umbraco platform can be daunting. However, with the right expertise and a tailored maintenance plan, your current setup can continue to serve your business efficiently and securely.
We invite you to discuss your concerns and explore cost-effective, secure solutions tailored to your unique needs. Offering a no-obligation consultation, we aim to address any apprehensions you may have and demonstrate the value a dedicated maintenance partner brings to your digital operations, sans the pressure of an immediate upgrade.
Reach out to explore how we can work together to ensure your Umbraco 7 platform remains a robust, reliable asset for your business. Your journey towards a secure, efficient digital presence doesn't have to begin with an upgrade. Let's explore what's possible with your existing setup.