There’s less than a month before two popular Microsoft products lose all support and are no longer protected from security vulnerabilities. One of these is still being used by about a quarter of all computer users and the other is still running processes on many company servers.
January 14, 2020 is the end of life (EOL) date for both the Windows 7 operating system and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2.
While the date has been on the calendar for quite some time, many users have yet to upgrade from those two products, which can mean a very risky 2020 coming their way.
To understand why, we’ll take a look at what EOL actually means for these Microsoft products and what happens if you just keep on using them after support shuts down.
Microsoft Lifecycle: What’s “End of Life?”
All Microsoft products have a lifecycle laid out for them when they’re first released that includes two important dates:
- End of Mainstream Support
- End of Extended Support
When Mainstream Support ends, most users won’t really notice much, because they’re still getting feature and security updates, they just can no longer make feature requests.
But when Extended Support ends (also known as the end of life date), all support stops, including any updates and those critical security patches.
Security patches are released to fix newly identified vulnerabilities in operating systems and are vital to the security of your device and network.
Other things you’ll notice after Extended Support ends is that tech support is going to be harder to find and you may have to pay a premium for it due to being on a no longer supported system.
Why Can’t I Just Keep Running an Unsupported Operating System?
When the clock hits midnight on January 14, 2020, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 aren’t going to turn into a pumpkin and stop working. They’ll still operate as they did before, which leaves many users to wonder, “Why can’t I just keep using my unsupported OS?”
There are a number of reasons that this is not only risky but could also be a detriment to your company.
Your Device Will be a Big Target for Hackers
Hackers can’t wait until an OS hits the EOL date because they know that there will still be plenty of users operating it with no patch support. This means they can have a field day exploiting vulnerabilities that will no longer be fixed.
This leaves you at a much higher risk of a data breach and the costs that come along with it.
Unpatched vulnerabilities were responsible for nearly 60% of the data breaches that organizations experienced over the last two years. When you’re running an unsupported OS, there are no more patches to apply so you become a sitting duck for hackers.
You’ll Have Less Hardware Options
When it’s time to purchase a printer or use a projector for a presentation at your clients’ office, you’ll find that your older operating system will have less compatible hardware options.
Hardware makers are not going to keep backwards support for long because they’re designing their equipment to work with the newest operating systems. This can hamper your ability to take advantage of the technology you need to run your business efficiently.
Problems with Data Security Compliance
If you’re subject to data security compliance through HIPAA, FINRA, or PCI, you’ll find that storing and accessing data with an unsupported operating system means you’re now out of compliance and could face some stiff penalties as a result.
Data privacy regulations require that you take safeguards against a data breach and one of the basic ones is keeping your devices updated with security patches to prevent exploits of vulnerabilities.
Want to Upgrade Your Software? Not So Fast!
Software applications often have updates that provide not only helpful new features but also keep you in sync with others that use the same types of office tools.
When you’re running an outdated operating system, there will come a time that you click to apply an update and the software tells you that your system is no longer supported.
Support Will be Harder to Find
The father beyond the EOL date, the more difficult it will be to find support for an operating system. Some providers may not want to work on outdated operating systems because they know how vulnerable they are to viruses and other attacks.
Microsoft’s support also is severely limited, giving users an online self-help knowledge base but no significant or robust troubleshooting support.
You’ll Be Left Behind Major Upgrades
Windows 10 represents a major update in usability and security from Windows 7. Its user-oriented features result in higher productivity and an OS that protects your data in more robust ways than its predecessor.
When you stay with an outdated operating system rather than upgrading, you end up missing out on advances that could save you and your users time and make your daily workload easier.
Need Help with Windows 10 and Azure Server Upgrades?
If you’re still running Windows 7 or Server 2008 R2, you don’t have to panic even though the EOL date is looming. C Solutions can help you through a smooth upgrade to either Windows 10 or a cloud-based Azure server or Windows Server 2019.
Schedule a free upgrade consultation today! Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.