Preparing for Windows 7 end of life
As of 14th January 2020, Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 and the well-loved software programme is now reaching the end of its life. Now this does not mean it will stop working, however, technical assistance and software updates that help protect your PC will no longer be available.
Why I hear you ask? Well, technology is moving faster than ever before, and Microsoft need to focus investment in supporting newer technologies. Windows 7 was a huge success for Microsoft but they made a commitment to provide 10 years extended support and the time has almost come to say farewell to our old friend that was launched in 2009.
Windows 7 was such a success for Microsoft so it’s not surprising that even though the software is almost a decade old, research shows that 39% of PC users are still working on the out-dated operating system. If you are one of these users, you need to get your skates on…
When Windows 7 reaches the end of its life, Microsoft will no longer release updates and patches for the operating system. The biggest concern running unsupported software is you will not be protected from new viruses which will expose your business to emerging threats including cyber-attacks, data theft and further security issues. More concerning is the fact that if large numbers of users continue using Windows 7 and don’t upgrade, it will attract hackers to target Windows 7 users specifically.
PC’s running Windows 7 are more vulnerable to ransomware and it is not financially savvy or business efficient to continue using old software that needs regular updates and patching. Furthermore, newer software options have been designed with a much deeper level of security in mind in response to the growing level of security threats and issues that we continue to face every day.
Remember the WannaCry Ransomeware Attack in 2017? This global cyber-attack targeted PC’s running old Windows operating systems by encrypting data and demanding ransom payments. Although Microsoft had released patches previously to prevent exploitation, the WannaCry virus spread due to organisations not applying upgrades or those using older systems that were past their end of life. The attack was estimated to have affected more than 200,000 computers across 150 countries, costing billions of dollars.
Think of the cost to your business if you don’t upgrade. How long can you afford to be down as a result of a security threat?
With only 9 months support left, there isn’t much time left to get your plans and preparations in place. If you haven’t already begun planning, you need to. Here are some simple key steps to get you started:
- Identify the number of PC’s running Windows 7 throughout your organisation
- Consider your upgrade options e.g. Windows 10 or another operating system
- Also consider the age of your hardware. It is often more financially beneficial to replace rather than upgrade, particularly as most PC’s using Windows 7 are likely to need replacing soon anyway
- Develop an IT re-fresh plan, timeline and budget for upgrades and/or replacements
- Review your security controls to separate critical systems from Windows 7 PC’s that cannot be upgraded or removed
- Implement back-ups
- Schedule employee training to learn the chosen new operating system
IT Hotdesk can assist you with these steps and provide advice and guidance when planning for the transition. If required, we can take the pain away completely by implementing a smooth transition on your behalf. Get in touch and we can get started…