Posted on Dec 9, 2015

The End of Adobe Flash Player … Are You Ready?

Almost everyone who has used the internet has used Flash Player. It is a platform that is used for multimedia content like videos and games. You might even have had Flash-based software on your own website – now or in the past. In fact you might have used Flash without even knowing it. For example, YouTube used to be based on Flash. Although it doesn’t use Flash any longer, YouTube videos that you embedded on your website in the past would have been in Flash.

Flash Player is a free software platform created and owned by the software giant Adobe. And although it was popular in the early days of the internet, it is not the most popular software to use within the online tech community these days for a variety of reasons. Why should you care?

The demise of Flash has been a long time coming. Although online games and some animated ads still run on Flash, the majority of the big companies today (such as YouTube) no longer use Flash. Software developers and the world’s leading manufacturers have long complained about Flash Player because of two main issues:

  1. Poor performance
  2. Security vulnerabilities

As far back as 2010, the performance of Flash Player was a major tech industry news story. This is when Apple’s famous founder, Steve Jobs, slammed the software claiming it was the number one cause of Macs crashing. He didn’t even allow Flash Player on iPhones or iPads.

Today those performance issues still exist. Many people complain that Flash Player causes perfectly capable computers to run sluggishly, or even crash. But it’s the security problems that hasten the exit of Flash Player from our lives.

This means gaping holes in the software that hackers exploit before Adobe even knows they exist. This has led to people in the technology industry (including people in Facebook) to take matters into their own hands by blocking it from their services, or publically calling on Adobe to kill it.

So let’s just summarize this to put it into perspective – three of the biggest technology companies in the world have blocked, stopped using, or publicly asked Adobe to kill Flash:

  • Apple
  • YouTube
  • Facebook

In case you’re still wondering, this is why Flash is finished.

How Does This Affect Small Businesses?

The big questions for small businesses are:

  1. Do the recent problems with Flash Player affect me?
  2. If Flash Player is closed down, will it affect my business?

The answer to the first question is that you could be vulnerable, particularly if you have not installed the latest updates for Flash Player. And if you believe many of the security bloggers and experts who write about Flash Player, even this won’t protect you.

So what happens if Adobe kills Flash Player? This depends on whether you have features on your website that use Flash Player. If you do, the features will stop working. But if you have a recently built website, this is unlikely. Another area that might affect you is if you use Flash-based ads to promote your business – you will need to get these redone.

And remember that if you have anything that runs on Flash right now, even while Adobe keeps it alive, it still won’t work on iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.

What Should You Do

If you have Flash applications on your website you should take action now so that whenever it is finally killed off your service won’t be disrupted. The solution you should implement is to move to HTML5. That is a technical term but it is basically a different platform that is now being widely used, and that doesn’t have the same problems as Flash – HTML5 is now what YouTube uses. Your website designer will be able to advise you.
Adobe continues to release updates to Flash Player, so it still continues to exist. While dropping it completely would cause difficulties for some websites, the tide appears to be shifting in a very public way.

We hope this update helps to keep you ahead of the game when it comes to the future of Adobe Flash and the videos you currently have or plan on implement onto your website. As always, let us know if you need any extra help … After all, that’s what we’re here for!

Good luck,