A pretty significant date is coming up just a few short weeks from now that both residential and business Microsoft users need to be aware of because it will have a huge impact on your technology security.On January 14, 2020, Microsoft is ending all support for two of their popular products, the Windows 7 operating system and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2.
End of life (EOL) refers to the date that a Microsoft product loses its Extended Support. That means no more feature updates, no more standard technical support, and (most importantly) no more security updates.
If you haven’t upgraded yet, you don’t have much time left. And if you’re wondering whether you can just keep on using the non-supported systems… read on because we’ll tell you what you’re risking if you do.
When it comes to managed IT support, one of the most important parts is managing the application of all security updates and patches. Whether your computer is at home or in an office, it’s equally vulnerable to a breach if those vital security patches aren’t kept up to date.
Why Can’t I Keep Using a Windows Product After it Loses Support?
It’s understandable to want to keep the operating system you’ve grown comfortable with. The thought of upgrading from Windows 7 to 10 and having to learn a new user interface can cause many residential computer users to drag their feet and put off an upgrade.
Likewise, a company that’s been happy running Windows Server 2008 may not want to switch to Azure because the thought of migrating all those processes and the data is overwhelming.
But, while “technically” you could keep using those unsupported products, it’s a really, really bad idea, and here’s why.
Big Security Risks
The end of Extended Support for a Windows product (aka EOL) means that Microsoft is no longer going to send out those updates that contain patches to newly found security vulnerabilities. This leaves your computer or server wide open to be exploited by a hacker.
Unapplied security patches were responsible for nearly 60% of data breaches at organizations within the past two years.
Running an outdated operating system is like working on a ticking time bomb. It’s not a matter of IF you suffer a breach or malware infection, but WHEN. The security vulnerability is the biggest reason you need to upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 by the January deadline.
Loss of Hardware and Software Compatibility
Manufacturers of software applications and hardware, like printers, are looking ahead, not behind. So, you’ll find that you’re going to begin having problems will compatibility if you keep running on an outdated operating system.
The speed of technology means that new capabilities are being created in technology hardware and applications and you’ll be left behind with an outdated system that can’t keep up with the requirements of newer technology.
You’ll Be Out of Compliance
Do you run a business that has data privacy compliance requirements for regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)?
You could have major problems if you’re still storing data on Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 after the EOL date, including hefty penalties for being out of compliance or a costly data breach of sensitive customer information.
What to Do Between Now and January
Even though 2020 is closing in fast, you do still have some time to upgrade before you’ll be left without support for your Windows product.
For Those Using Windows 7:
If you’re one of the approximately 27% of Windows users still running Windows 7, you’ll want to take the following steps:
- Identify any PC’s at your home or office still running Windows 7.
- Check each Windows 7 device to see if it meets the requirements to upgrade to Windows 10.
- For those that don’t, plan to migrate your data to a new computer.
- For those that do, purchase a copy of Windows 10. (Note: For Office 365 business users, if you upgrade to Microsoft 365 and it includes Windows 10)
- Be sure to clean any old data off of the old, decommissioned devices.
For Those Using Windows Server 2008/2008 R2:
Upgrading a server can be a little more complicated, so be sure to you have an expert assisting you with the transition. Here are the steps you should take:
- Make an inventory of all applications and server rolls being run on your Windows 2008 server.
- Decide whether you want to upgrade to Azure (cloud-based) or Windows Server 2016 (on-premise).
- If you rehost in Azure, you can migrate existing Server images free of charge.
- If upgrading to on-premise, you have to first upgrade to Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 before you can upgrade to Windows Server 2016.
- Ensure all server rolls, applications, and data are checked after the upgrade to ensure everything migrated smoothly.
Call Quantum PC Services for a Smooth Upgrade
There are a lot of things that can go wrong with an operating system upgrade. Make yours as hassle-free as possible by letting us do the heavy lifting.
Our expert technicians can get your Sturgeon Bay home or work PC or Windows server upgraded, your data migrated, and ensure you understand the new operation system too.
Contact Quantum PC Services to schedule your upgrade today at 920-256-1214 or through our contact form.