Sean Callanan, director of technology and services at Close Brothers Technology Services discusses the end of support for Windows 7 next year and what companies using the system should be thinking about.
The clock is ticking for those still operating Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, and Small Business Server 2011. If that includes your business, you will soon struggle to get any help with technical support for issues, or bug fixes that are discovered.
More importantly for most, there will be no security fixes for vulnerabilities discovered, leaving your business more susceptible to a security breach.
In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack caused chaos across the world. It was reported by the Department of Health that WannaCry crippled computers in hospitals and GP practices across the UK, costing the NHS an estimated £92 million. The hack caused more than 19,000 appointments to be cancelled for the NHS, costing £20m between May 12-19, and £72m in the subsequent clean-up and upgrades to its IT systems.
The cyber attack targeted computers running older Microsoft Windows operating systems. While Microsoft had released patches previously to close the exploit, much of WannaCry’s spread was in organisations that had not applied these patches or were using older Windows systems that were past their end of life.
As we prepare to say farewell to Microsoft’s support for several Microsoft legacy operating systems, with Windows 7 having the biggest impact on windows users next year, a senior spokesperson from Computerworld reported that at the end of 2018, Windows 7 was still operating on 42.8% of all Windows PCs.
Unsurprisingly, the questions on many of Close Brothers Technology Services customers’ minds are how to avoid any of these issues relating to an unsupported operating system come January 14, 2020 and when do we need to start thinking about it?
What you need to do now
If you haven’t already started planning to upgrade your current Windows 7 operating system, this is something that businesses need to commence, as these kinds of upgrades are not overnight fixes. They take time and a serious amount of planning to implement and in today’s day and age, operating an unsupported system is a worrying prospect. We recommend that you talk with a trusted partner or technology supplier immediately about how you can arrange your upgrade in plenty of time for the end of life date and how to do this with minimal disruption to your business.
Close Brothers Technology Services has helped several of its customers over the past 18 months to go through their digital transformation. This has included upgrading older technology still within the manufacturer’s warranty, to a specification closer to that required to run the latest operating system software. Often this has included a move to a more future-proof technology environment (not just to the next generation of hardware available from your preferred vendor), while implementing Windows 10 and Office 365.
Upgrading to the latest generation technology and preparing for any future changes to the operating system environment can help you take advantage of the many enhancements available through Windows 10, such as Windows Hello for Business, replacing passwords with strong two-factor authentication on PCs and mobile devices.
This authentication consists of a new type of user credential tied to a device and uses a biometric or PIN. Having the option of facial recognition through a built-in camera or finger print reader will be important to take advantage of these simple biometric enhancements to your security.
For more insights and help with your digital transformation and upgrade to the latest Windows operating system, contact us: