End of Support Is Coming for Windows 7
Last week we reached a milestone: less than a year until the end of Windows 7. As of January 14, 2020, the old operating system will no longer receive extended support or software updates from Microsoft, d This date will be vulnerable to security vulnerabilities.
The number may surprise you, especially since mainstream support for Windows 7 ended in 2015. As of December 2018, Windows 7 user share was still 42.8% of all Windows PCs, with Windows 10 accounting for 45.5%. Even more shocking is that this was the first month since its release three years ago that more computers were running Windows 10 than its predecessor, Windows 7.
Although Microsoft has made its commitment to the Windows 7 transition clear, millions of users still rely on it. In some cases, legacy accounting or data management software only runs on Windows 7. In other cases, financial concerns can prevent a business from upgrading its operating system to Windows 10 — or buying entirely new computers. Still others choose the tried-and-true Windows 7 option, risking a cybersecurity threat rather than incurring the expense and effort required to update and upgrade computers while educating employees on new operating systems.
As you begin to execute on your 2019 budget or look ahead to a new fiscal year, now is the time to consider the cost of upgrading or replacing a desktop or laptop running Windows 7. Any replacement should be several months before end of life be available on January 14th. That means you have time to work with a trusted IT provider to ensure a smooth transition and avoid downtime or disruption.
That depends on the age of your desktop or laptop computer. The general rule of thumb for office equipment is that anything over three years old should probably be replaced; If a computer is less than two years old, it’s likely capable of handling an upgrade to Windows 10. This scenario differs from company to company, with several factors at play – computing speed requirements, graphics capabilities, hard drive requirements and more.
When Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP operating system in 2014, 40% of the world’s estimated one billion computers were affected. But change came slowly, even with a lengthy launch and multiple security announcements. Four years later, around 5% of computers worldwide are still using Windows XP, although several ransomware attacks (particularly WannaCry) have targeted legacy systems still running XP. When hackers realize how many potential cybercrime victims are still using Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, they will surely turn their attention in that direction.
Although Windows 10 has finally replaced Windows 7 as the most popular operating system, 37% of computers worldwide still rely on the older version. Navigating the approaching end-of-life for Windows 7 requires an intelligent strategy that balances cost, time, and security. Conducting an assessment of your organization’s current infrastructure is the first important step in identifying future vulnerabilities.
If you have questions or need more information about Windows 7’s approaching end of life, contact CMIT Solutions today. We’ve helped our clients navigate situations like these, and we understand what businesses need to survive and thrive in today’s challenging cybersecurity environment. CMIT provides responsive, professional support that ensures efficient, secure, and reliable IT operations.
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