Adobe Flash, the web content standard the Internet loves to hate, will soon meet its ultimate demise: Adobe will finish phasing out the platform in 2020. Flash, first introduced in the early 2000s, has been on a gradual decline for almost as long as it was on the rise. Fortunately for your company’s IT security, this shift will make your computers safer at the expense of losing support for older web content. Here’s what you need to know about Adobe Flash ending.
Trends in Design
While Flash provides rich content for desktop and laptop computer users, the multimedia software platform received its terminal diagnosis when trends shifted towards the mobile web. Flash’s relevance continued to decline as web sites moved away from running separated desktop and mobile sites by adopting a singular “responsive design“ which requires Flash-free content.
The Slow Death of Adobe Flash
Late Apple Co-Founder Steve Jobs, who played a major role in creating much of the popular computer technology in use today, is credited with signaling the beginning of the end with his public letter, “Thoughts on Flash.” Instead of weening iOS devices off of Flash content, Apple opted to avoid supporting the standard altogether on iPhones and iPads in favor of HTML5 and H.264.
While mobile devices were the first to abandon Flash, desktop devices kept it on life-support for a few more years. Google followed suit with dropping Flash from Android devices in 2012 and YouTube switched to HTML 5 as the default video player for all devices in 2015. The standard took more hits in 2016: both Chrome and Firefox started blocking Flash by default, forcing users to “opt-in” to enable any Flash content.
Flash isn’t great for device battery life or SEO-friendly web design. Flash content is typically CPU intensive and inefficient, so it forces the device to do a lot of work even after downloading content. For example, Flash video can eat through a device’s battery life twice as fast as the same content encoded in H.264. Flash content is also notoriously poor for SEO because search engine crawlers can’t properly examine the content. Additionally, Flash-content can take several times longer to load which translates into a large share of the audience abandoning the page due to speed.
Security Issues with Adobe Flash
Unfortunately for Flash, security issues create a situation where leaving the plug-ins installed on a computer to continue supporting content leaves the device vulnerable to attack. Flash is riddled with security holes. Even after Steve Jobs called out Adobe for the security problems back in 2010, Adobe’s vulnerability patches continue to be met with newly discovered vulnerabilities. Symantec observed and reported Flash vulnerabilities in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Hackers frequently exploit Flash’s security shortcomings to upload malware onto devices.
Is your business ready to operate in a Flash-free world? MPA Networks can help through IT Managed Services and desktop management by helping your business phase out lingering Flash-required software and removing Flash installations on your devices. Contact us today to learn more!