Is Proprietary Software More Secure than Open Source?
Collaboration plays a large role in today’s digital age. Whether an emerging small business relies on crowdsourcing for funding or a brand utilizes their fans for video content, we’re able to connect with each other in a whole new way.
The Internet has allowed people from all over the globe to connect and create better products. Online communities have even banded together to create software that is devised, improved and shared freely.
Companies the world over use this free, crowd-created software, known as “open source;” however, since a whole community of contributors manages it, some people have questions about its security. On the other hand, proprietary software (which you have to pay for) also has its challenges.
We’ve weighed the pros and cons of open source vs. propriety software to help you determine which one may be the best fit for your business:
Open Source Software
- Basic software packages with numerous plugins allow for great customization.
- Constant software updates from the community enable you to keep your site up to date and fix any potential bugs.
- There are many reputable communities, as well as increased security – since multiple people tested the software.
- You can always find a developer/employee who’s able to work on the software.
- Due to the community aspect of the software, businesses are not always a priority. Your business may need updates that aren’t as important or a first priority for those working on the software.
- If the community decides to move away from your open-source software, you could be left without support or future updates.
- A reputable brand name offers a sense of security for some people.
- Software costs are transparent – you get what you pay for (but the prices will be higher).
- You have a dedicated support staff hired to work directly for you.
- It’s not necessarily more secure just because fewer people understand the programming, and this can make it harder to find employees to work it.
- The software company could remove features you need in a future update, or move away from the software altogether.
- The software may not have been as thoroughly tested as an open-source software.
There are benefits to each software option, and there’s no right or wrong decision. The question to ask yourself is: Does a higher price truly equal higher security?
If you feel more comfortable using a reputable name brand and you understand the cons, pay extra for proprietary software. If you want more freedom with your software, open-source may be the fit for you.
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Blog Author: Eric Shulman, Former B teamer