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Windows 7 End of Life, Episode Two: The Hackers Strike Back

The Consequences of Using an Unsupported Operating System

If your business is still using Windows 7, you’re running out of time. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop updating the operating system.

What Does This Mean for Our Systems?

When Microsoft stops supporting a system, it doesn’t mean your computer is useless and will no longer run, it means they simply aren’t devoting resources to old technology. This is a way to influence Windows 7 users to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Updates from now until the phase-out will include reminders for Windows 7 users that they should upgrade sooner rather than later.

This has several serious implications for your small business:

Security

The main risk of not upgrading to Windows 10 is that running an unsupported system is like leaving the doors unlocked. System updates are critical to helping your network protect itself from threats such as ransomware or hackers that are actively looking to penetrate your system. The worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 was able to spread because companies were running unsupported operating systems such as Windows XP. Safety is a critical element for all businesses, but it is doubly so for organizations that deal with sensitive financial or health information, which makes upgrading to Windows 10 even more important.

Support

Since Microsoft will stop releasing updates and patches for Windows 7 in January 2020, it’s likely they will stop supporting it completely at that point, too. It doesn’t make financial sense to devote resources to outdated technology. This means that not only will it be risky to run it from a security standpoint, but if you need new applications or if you need to recover lost data, you will be out of luck.

Service interruptions

Software developers use the latest technology when designing and writing new applications. What they don’t like to do is release different versions of the same software so it can run on older operating systems and devote resources to supporting those users. For all its virtues, Windows 7 simply wasn’t made to run today’s software, so as your operating system gets older, you’ll find you’re experiencing network slowdowns, malfunctioning software, system crashes, data loss, and an overall drop in productivity as your employees struggle to maintain daily tasks with old technology.

What Should You Do?

If your business still uses Windows 7, you can do a number of things, and the first is to replace it with Windows 10. Since both operating systems are made by Microsoft, upgrading will be relatively easy. The best way to handle this is to have the IT experts at SBT Partners handle the data migration. We have helped many clients upgrade their systems over the years, and we expect the coming year will keep us busy upgrading businesses like yours from Windows 7 to 10. So if you want this process to be as seamless as possible, call us.

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