At Alt Choice Tech Advisors, we love open source technology because it can deliver benefits like these for businesses:
When it comes to security, the major proprietary vendors don’t have a great track record. Hacks are common, and response time to known vulnerabilities tends to be slow. That can really put your business at risk. The beauty of open source is that thousands of people across the world are constantly testing for security flaws. As a result, viruses, malware and other risks are more likely to be identified — and fixed — faster.
Proprietary technology generally takes much longer to install than open source. Upgrading a proprietary platform (e.g. Microsoft Windows) takes longer too, because it involves the time-consuming process of applying a series of patches. An open source upgrade, in contrast, involves few patches because quality control is completed before the release is publicly available. The bottom line: With open source, IT has more time to focus on mission-critical initiatives.
Proprietary software carries significant upfront costs (e.g. licensing, implementation) and ongoing costs (e.g. periodic upgrades, maintenance). Open source scores better on both fronts. The software is free, or close to it, and you’re sharing the bulk of long-term maintenance costs with the rest of the open source community. That helps transform IT from a cost center to a source of revenue generation.
Unlike with proprietary software, open source allows you to customize the source code as you wish. And with this freedom comes a world of opportunities. Use the software for any purpose you want. Adapt it to meet your organization’s goals and needs, all without fear of legal repercussions. And if you like, submit your enhancements back to the open source community so that others can benefit.
Are you concerned about protecting the privacy of your data? Proprietary platforms are notorious for collecting and transmitting information back to corporate headquarters, often without your permission. And each new upgrade includes policy changes that erode your privacy even further. With open source, you decide what, if any, information is transmitted. Want to keep everything in house? Just modify the source code accordingly.
All open source software must meet open standards, which makes it easy for various technologies to communicate and work with each other. Create a file in one open source application, and you can open and use it in any other open source application. The same can’t be said about most proprietary software. For businesses that desire interoperability across users, computers and organizations, open source is the clear winner.
This is one advantage of open source that is underappreciated. An open source platform like Linux demands less power than Windows, which has bloated software and uses loads of RAM. You can even fine tune the source code in an open source platform or software product to reduce power consumption further. If your IT organization wants to realize the environmental and financial benefits of going green, open source can help you get there.
Proprietary software means vendor lock-in. If that software is mission-critical, you’ll be tied to that vendor more tightly than you might find comfortable. Should the vendor go out of business or discontinue the product, you could face some serious problems. Since open source software is developed by members of the open source community, you’re not dependent on the fortunes or decisions of one vendor. That should put your mind at ease.