Working with free software sounds great, doesn’t it? The ability to use resources that you need without needing to take out your wallet seems like a dream. There are hundreds of free software easily accessible on the internet, but how are they free? There must be a catch.
For many small businesses, open source software looks promising. Open source software is the ability to use free distributed software with the ability to modify it for your own personal use and to your liking. Unfortunately, many businesses find out too late that there is an issue with this free software. There are many additional costs from using this free software.
Free software often involves expensive support fees. You will end up paying double in the long run for support on your website with the open source software than you would with a host provider. Another problem with open source software is that there is no guarantee their services will be working tomorrow, next month or next year. Free software can disappear whenever they choose to. You are not paying for a hosted site so you are not getting a guarantee that your website will always be there when you pay for it. In the end, you will be spending more with open source software than you will be saving.
When you use free software from the internet, you will most likely notice pop-up ads. These ads are a form of “adware.” Adware is advertising-supported software. Adware allows the author of the software to generate ad’s on the programs you are using to generate revenue. Although you are not directly paying the author for their software, you are still funding their income by using their applications. Resources are limited since the service is free. However, you can purchase more functions with a single payment or a reoccurring monthly fee to be able to use them. Most people get annoyed by the ads that are always popping up on the screen or the side of the screen and will end up purchasing the apps to get rid of them. Regardless of preference, the author is still making a profit of all your use of the service.
If I told you that downloading free software also came with the risk of someone having your personal information, would you still download it? Spyware is a software that provides ads and tracks your personal information without you knowing. When you download free software, there is a big chance that spyware is monitoring your personal and sensitive information. Spyware associates with the ads that lurk within the free programs. What if I also told you that spyware getting your information wasn’t illegal? When you click “agree” to the end user license agreement, you agree to allow spyware to see your sensitive data. There are always ways of blocking most spyware from viewing your information by paying for anti-virus software.
If you have ever downloaded browser extensions, chances are you have a malware monitoring your devices. A browser extension is a plug-in that increases the functionality of any website that allows the use of them. Malware hides in these extensions and silently monitors your devices whether you are on them or not. Just like spyware, you can clean malware from your devices with anti-virus software. Your real identity is compromised by the viewing history of your web browser without anti-virus software. Malware is also designed to cause damage to your computer. This damage is sometimes silently happening on your computer without your knowledge, so you don’t even know if your computer is damaged.
Free Software is not Free
As you can see, free software is not free. It may not cost you a penny initially, but it will happen in the long run when you need to purchase a new computer or device from viruses. It is worth it to pay for your software to prevent adware, spyware and malware from getting your information and taking over your computer.
To read more about how free software isn’t free, consider reading out this article.
With August eTech services, we help fight against these attacks on your computer. We recommend and apply the best cybersecurity packages and configurations. At August eTech, we also cover HIPAA and PCI IT Security Compliance, which includes security and encryption for your data and email. With 16 years of experience, you can rest assured that we are taking the best care for your devices. Aside from cybersecurity, we offer on-site support, part-time techs and project consulting. Give us a call to see how we can make your business function great.
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