.On December 31, 2020, Adobe Systems will officially stop updating and distributing Adobe Flash. Neglecting to convert Flash to HTML5 will have implications for a number of industries. Education and e-learning will experience a significant technical debt from this decision. There are a number of issues facing online courses that will need to be mapped out and risk management plans put into place.
Flash Security Concerns
Adobe Flash is not the most secure product to begin with. While Adobe has made strides in keeping up with patching zero-day exploits, they have traditionally been slow to respond to critical vulnerabilities.
It is also very difficult to maintain an effective patching program for Adobe Flash. Most internal IT departments and external managed service providers have software that will manage the patch infrastructure for Windows, but often they require a special solution to patch any of the Adobe products.
With end of life for Flash, there will be no more security updates. This means any new security exploits will not be given updates creating a gap in any company’s network security.
Google Chrome discontinued the use of Adobe Flash in update 53 of their browser. While the software can still be enabled through Chrome settings, Google has confirmed that effective the date of end of life for Flash, Google will completely block Flash from being able to run under the Chrome browser.
Mozilla discontinued support by default for Adobe Flash in the middle of 2016, citing the excessive security vulnerabilities that Flash was continuing to patch for. At the end of 2020, Mozilla will also block Flash.
And finally, Internet Explorer will also discontinue and block Adobe Flash at the end of life date. With all three of the major browsers ending support and blocking Flash from running at all, there will be no viable way to deliver online course content.
With the majority of e-learning content delivered via browser, 2020 becomes a firm date to move any flash animation or course content to another platform. Flash to HTML5 conversion is currently the fastest and most cost effective way to update any e-learning courses that you have.
HTML5 is a universally supported framework that provides a responsive design so that any course content can be viewed on a variety of devices, without having to invest in any extra code. It also recognizes a significant number of applications that integrate into itself.
HTML5 Conversion Considerations
So you should just find an online conversion tool and upload the content, right? Wrong, because you are putting your intellectual property at risk. A lot of online programs hide specific legalese in their terms of service that grant them the ownership of the content that you upload in exchange for the conversion. This happens often with online PDF converters.
Another factor is the content and the layout. Most simple converters will miss or mash together the content and file structure in order to compress the file and make it easier to upload and download. There’s no assurance extra code isn’t injected creating a backdoor vulnerability that can be exploited in the future.
You need to work with a group of professionals that can help plan your HTML5 conversion properly. This means protecting your intellectual property maintaining course structure you’ve worked hard to create.