Is It Time to Start Planning for the End of Windows 7?
Although 2020 is still more than a full year away, one likely date is high on the calendar: the end of life for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. “End of life” denotes the end of support for a hardware or software product. This means that the developer (in this case Microsoft) no longer issues security patches or fixes bugs and bugs. You can continue to run the Windows 7 operating system, but at your own risk.
Why talk about it now? As you begin planning your 2019 budget, consider the cost of upgrading or replacing a Windows 7 desktop or laptop. Due to the early end of life date in 2020, any upgrades or replacements should be made several months before January 14. This gives your business time to work with a trusted IT vendor to ensure a smooth transition and avoid downtime or disruption .
Should I upgrade or replace? The general rule of thumb for business computers is that anything older than three years should probably be replaced, while anything less than two years old is safe for an upgrade. This scenario will be different for every business, with multiple factors at play—compute speed requirements, graphics capabilities, disk requirements, and more.
Do I really have to act? 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, Business Insider estimates that up to 7% of the world’s computers are still using Windows XP, although several ransomware attacks (particularly WannaCry) have targeted older XP systems.
Why do some companies take so long to get used to end-of-life announcements? Many reasons that should be familiar to any entrepreneur: the cost and time involved in updating and upgrading computers, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The use of important legacy software based on an outdated operating system. Older devices that may not respond well to the system requirements required to upgrade to a new operating system. The time and expense required to train employees to use new systems.
For this reason, planning ahead and having the support of a trusted IT consultant is crucial. Many security experts estimate that more computers use Windows 7 than any other operating system, with the current standard, Windows 10, coming in second. 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.
Other key components to consider:
- Identify machines that need to be upgraded or replaced
- Identify legacy software running on older operating systems
- Develop a schedule for upgrades or replacements
- Build any upgrades or replacements into the 2019 budget
- Isolate any systems still running Windows 7 from other secure computers
- Plan necessary employee training
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.
See more new articles in category: GUIDES