The End of Life is Coming
The “End of Life” date for Microsoft’s Windows 7 software will be on January 14, 2020. Windows 7 appeared in 2009 and quickly became one of the most popular versions of the program. Some estimates suggest approximately 40 percent of Windows operating system (OS) is 7. That being said, if you are currently a Window’s 7 user you’ll want to understand these changes and how they may affect you.
What is End of Life?
What is “End of Life”? Simply put, it means that after January 2020, Windows 7 users will not receive security patches, updates or any form of support by Microsoft. You won’t have to throw away any existing hardware that runs of Windows 7, but it won’t get any relevant updates and security patches. This could make your computer or IT network susceptible to malware and other cyber threats.
40 percent of the world’s computers, mostly businesses, are still running on Windows 7. Microsoft publicly announced that it will carry on supporting windows 7 for a price. However, the price is over 40 percent the original price of the product license.
As a business owner of any kind, working on a vulnerable software program may become a huge liability. You’re likelier to experience data theft and violate regulations since Windows 7 will no longer be secured.
You Don’t Worry Right Now
If you find yourself asking what the best way of handling this change is, don’t fret. You can buy extended support for Windows 7 and it will be available until the year 2023. A certified Microsoft solutions provider, or MSP, can give you more information on this.
That is a short term solution, however. In the long term you will inevitably have to move to a newer version of Windows that remains supported and updated.
What Happens If I Don’t Migrate ?
- Hardware becomes vulnerable to hackers.
- Applications will be slow, as they will not be the latest version.
- No more support for help when something goes wrong.
- Antivirus won’t help either. According to Microsoft, you are still vulnerable to sophisticated phishing and ransomware.
Increase Your Chance of Getting Hacked
Windows 7 is a very popular OS that companies rely on every day, even 10 years after its release.
However, Microsoft is very clear about Window’s lack of support. In past years, when Microsoft discontinued software, it at least offered patches in the run-up to the date to secure the OS as much as possible before the end-of-life date. The problem then that still exists now is hackers are waiting for the end of life period day to come so they can declare open season on anyone left behind.
Knowing when to strike is the essential task of any successful hacker. Considering people’s reluctance to migrate or failure to plan for a migration, it’s an invaluable opportunity that could benefit anyone with the right skills for the job.
You’ll Inevitably Lose Business
The sooner people make the switch to a newer OS like Windows 10, the better it will be. Even if you don’t want to switch to Windows 10, there will come a time when you’ll have to. PC makers are going to bundle Windows 10 into their machines as they’re sold and there won’t be a downgrade option. If you’re a business owner in the financial services industry, for example, it’ll be a critical error that will cost hours of time and a fair amount of money to deal with.
You don’t have to look very hard through history to learn fighting the tide of history usually spells the end for any industry. Leaders in any industry have always embraced the future and capitalized on it when it was most undervalued. The same applies today. Many companies are struggling to adapt in a world moving towards newer digital technology. Eventually, they’ll be forced to upgrade to newer machines just stay competitive. Those machines won’t have Windows 7 available.
One of the biggest problems facing many industries today, but specifically finance and accounting are the crutch of legacy systems. Firms that are still operating on older machines or have an outdated IT infrastructure or IT Support are starting to suffer due to the exponential growth of tech development in recent years. Many older partners and CEO’s worked for years with their older tech and didn’t see the need for an upgrade. Many of them won’t even bother looking for capable managed IT for financial businesses. Things were working fine as they are. Newer technology is scary, confusing, and difficult to understand and they don’t have the time to research and invest in anything new, they have to provide for their clients. They have to turn a profit and grow their business.
You’ll Fail to Meet Regulatory Compliance
If you’re a business that has to conform to specific security standards, like the financial services industry or accounting, you’ll have even more problems to face. Staying on Windows 7 means failing to meet regulatory compliance standards. Given the sensitive nature of the data financial firms operate with, no compliance department is going to allow a firm to create such a huge compliance risk. Not meeting could mean burdensome fines and penalties as well as lost time, energy and work. You need more robust IT solutions for fiance to overcome the compliance obstacle. That means keeping within SOX, HIPPA, PCI DDS and GDPR standards.
What are my options ?
1. Purchasing Extended Support
Microsoft is offering extended support for Windows 7 to purchase and it will remain active until 2023. The details on pricing are not exact but it’s to be about $350 per computer for 3 years.
That might not be a worthy investment considering you’ll have to move to a newer operating system no matter what. Also many newer software programs are not compatible with the older Windows 7.
2. Upgrading to a newer Operating System
Windows 8.1 and 10 are the two versions of the OS that are available when the day to migrate over comes. 8.1 was considered to be the worst Windows OS since Vista, so experts encourage going for Windows 10 instead.
Windows 10 is notably different from its predecessor in various ways. It may not be compatible with some of the software programs you use on Windows 7 and you need to take time to acquaint yourself with its features.
You won’t be able to buy Windows 7 anywhere other than places like Ebay, Craigslist or some third party seller on Amazon.
Although, upgrading to Windows 10 is completely free with the caveat that your PC’s meet all of the requirements to run the OS.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC.
RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit.
Hard disk space: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS.
Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver.
If your current hardware doesn’t meet these requirements you will have to make changes to this as well. Today’s PC’s have better specs that will optimize proficiency with the Windows 10 OS and shouldn’t be too costly.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or inquire on how to facilitate the process of switching over. It will take training, investment and a bit of downtime to adjust but the good news is you’ll have plenty of time to do sufficient research on Windows 10 and Microsoft.
You can also visit Nerds Support’s website and read our e-books to learn more or call us and one of our Microsoft certified engineers will help clear any issues or concerns you may have about the shift.
You can also watch a short video on Windows’ End of Life to learn more.