Windows 7 End of Life: How to Prepare Your Business Now
on Aug 8
In 2009, Microsoft launched Windows 7, one of its most successful operating systems. Over 240 million licenses were sold within its first year, making it the fastest selling operating system at its time. Businesses praised Windows 7 for its ease of use and better security, and many still use it on their computers after launching a decade ago.
According to Microsoft’s Product Lifecycle, all support for Windows 7 will end 6 months from now in early 2020. But what does this mean for businesses who still use the operating system? Let’s dive more into this update with answering our customer’s most commonly asked questions.
Why is Windows 7 Ending?
Unfortunately, all Microsoft operating systems are phased out for newer software. Microsoft has a lifecycle for all their operating systems that last around 10 years. The lifecycle begins when the software and include two service periods - main support and extended support. Main support is when they keep developing the product with updates and new features. Extended support occurs when Microsoft doesn’t develop it anymore and just provides period updates for safety reasons. When Microsoft doesn’t provide any support for the product, that’s when it reaches its End of Life stage, completing the life cycle.
When does Windows 7 End?
All support for Windows 7 will end on January 14, 2020. General support already ended in January 13, 2015 with no more features and no acceptance of warranty claims. Some vendors already have hardware that no longer support this operating system as well.
Windows 7 is now on the last stage of the cycle called Extended Support. This means Microsoft still provides periodic security patches and updates, but will cut off ALL support in six months and officially ending the operating system’s life cycle.
What Happens If I Keep Using It?
After January 14, Windows 7 will no longer be supported by Microsoft, and businesses should discontinuing the operating system for the following reasons:
You're No Longer Compliant
If your business requires security compliance with regulations such as HIPAA, SSAE 18, or SOC 2, an unsupported operating system makes you noncompliant and creates major risks for massive data breaches and hefty fines.
For businesses that store, process or transmit cardholder data, they need to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards requiring software to be protected by vendor-supplied security patches. If their operating system is no longer supported by the vendor, businesses are deemed non-compliant, facing major fines and loss of credit card transaction privileges.
Wide Open to Cybercrime
Since there’s no more support from Windows, computers still running Windows 7 are extremely vulnerable to malicious attacks. viruses, malware, and other malicious cybercrime. Hackers could easily access your computers and data with viruses, malware, and other cybercrimes with no barriers to stop them. If lots of businesses continue to use Windows 7 after the deadline, hackers will more likely target these computers for cyber attacks and data breaches.
3. Drags Down Performance
If your business software and hardware is updated but not your operating system, you’ll discover that some are not compatible on Windows 7. The newest software are not designed with Windows 7 in mind, limiting access to best features and programs to better your business.
What Should I Do to Prepare?
1. Remote Desktop Client
Use your existing Windows 7 computer as a remote desktop client to access your applications and data securely in the Cloud. All the processing is done through the Cloud, which eliminates the security worries of the outdated Windows 7 computer.
2. Move to Newer Operating System
Businesses could upgrade to Windows 10 or switch to another operating system such as macOS or Linux. Unlike previous operating systems, businesses moving to Windows 10 won’t have to worry about upgrading to another system because it uses a Windows as a Service model. This provides continuous updates and support through a cloud platform without major disruptions.
Regardless of the route you take, system transitions do take time and create potential disruptions. Businesses should develop a long-term transition plan that considers the following factors:
Identify all hardware in your business that needs to be replaced or updated. This could be only computers or other hardware such as printers and scanners.
Identify and consider replacing outdated systems with newer technology and software.
Create a timeline and budget for these system dates. Prioritize what’s most important to upgrade first to limit disruptions during the transition.
Develop a security plan that separates critical systems and data from Windows 7 hardware you can’t remove or upgrade.
Plan training sessions for employees that keeps them updated on the process and helps them learn the new system easily.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Businesses need to plan sooner than later and prepare for Windows 7 End of Life in 2020. Whether it’s using virtual desktops or upgrading your operating system, you need all the time you can get to prepare because it’s not an easy task. Don’t wait until the last minute and have Servpac help you prepare for the transition. We offer virtual desktops through our local Cloud server or could help you upgrade your business to a newer operating system. Call 237-5000 or contact us for more information.
Servpac is a Hawaii-based telecommunications company providing innovative and integrated telephone, internet, and cloud solutions for Hawaii businesses since 2004. The company is the largest locally based CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) in the state and provides 24/7 local support for island businesses to help them compete in the global marketplace.