by Alex Bleam and Scott Meeler, Contributors
Every few years it happens: Microsoft lets us know that they will no longer be supporting one of their older operating systems or versions of Office.
Sometimes, as is the case with Windows ME, Windows Vista, or Window 8 – we don’t care. We don’t care because those were horrible operating systems so fraught with bugs and potential security issues that most of us avoided them – at home and in the office.
Then, there are those times we cringe when we hear the news of Microsoft wanting to take away software – software, mind you, that works well, runs on almost anything, and is stable and easy to use.
Originally released on July 22, 2009 – Windows 7 – is one of those operating systems.
Unfortunately, its time is now at an end. Microsoft has confirmed that on January 14, 2020, it will no longer support the Windows 7 operating system.
So, what does this mean?
This means that critical patches and security patches that protected your computers, network and data will no longer be developed. As a result, your machines will be susceptible to attacks without Microsoft there to plug those holes.
You may say, “Aren’t you providing anti-virus so bad things don’t happen?” The answer is, “Of course we are.”
Anti-virus is just one piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle that protects your network, your data and your client data. Microsoft’s updates and patches are an essential component needed to properly protect your business. These patches and updates address specific bugs, improve the operating system with additional features, and perhaps most importantly – address security vulnerabilities.
In addition, there are many organizations bound by law to meet HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley, NIST or other compliancy guidelines. Running an operating system that is no longer supported by Microsoft puts your organization at risk of complaints being filed, audits, fines, and in worst case scenarios – potential criminal charges.
Outside of the potential security concerns that this can also bring, your computer may stop working properly. If you have a new issue pop up, the company who created your specific line of business (LOB) software may no longer fix this issue because you are on an obsolete version of Windows. The last thing you need is for critical business functions to go down or to stop working properly with your other technology. Migrations take planning, time, and money – waiting until there is an issue or a fire to put out can cost you more in the long run.
So, what are the options? While initially considered not-ready-for-prime-time, Windows 10 has developed into a stable, even likeable operating system that will be around for some time.
It will also likely be the last Windows operating system that you do not have to pay a subscription to use.
Yes, that’s right.
Microsoft has plans to move their operating system solutions to a subscription model like Office 365.
So, what is a business owner to do?
Well, DON’T panic for starters! You still have some time and we can definitely help. Call us and we will review your current situation. We will help you determine the most efficient process for replacing or updating those older machines.
Alex Bleam is the President of Frogworks, which serves the greater Washington, DC area, and is an Elite Member of The 20.
Scott Meeler is the CEO of Managed IT Systems, which serves the Atlanta and Athens, Georgia areas, and is also an Elite Member of The 20.