Microsoft has a life cycle for their products, and when that product reaches end of life there are serious security implications for any business that continues to use it. In just 12 months two of Microsoft's most popular operating systems will reach end of life - Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These popular operating systems are not alone in their EOL status, they will be closely followed my Office 2010 on October 13th 2020.
So, what does ‘end of life’ really mean? Security is the main reason. Products go through life cycles and just as a company produces a new version, the one it replaces heads towards ‘end of life’. When the end of life date arrives, you will still be able to use Windows 7, but Microsoft will no longer offer support, and they will stop distributing security updates.
Even after the Windows 7 end of life date, you can still use the operating system so what is the problem? The important part is that Microsoft will stop the security updates. A lot of these updates are created to fix vulnerabilities that are being used by hackers. With those updates gone your system would become an easy target to any new viruses and malware being created putting your business massively at risk of a cyber-attack and a data breach. If you are using an operating system that is no longer receiving security updates you are not protecting personal data and therefore are not compliant with GDPR or other industry regulatory compliances such as PCI-DSS and ISO 27001.
Windows 7 is not the first major Microsoft operating system to go end of life. On April 8th 2014 the most popular operating system of all time, Windows XP, went end of life. Whilst most businesses replaced old hardware and upgraded to Windows 7, there were still many that were naïve about the security vulnerabilities that would be exposed by not replacing Windows XP, one of those was the NHS. In May 2017 The ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware hit the NHS causing widespread destruction to their computer systems across the UK, loss of patient records, missed appointments and operations, delayed ambulance response and dare we say loss of life. The reason that the Ransomware was able to be deployed so easily and the reason it was so destructive was due to the amount of vulnerabilities left within Windows XP after it had gone end of life and Microsoft had stopped releasing security updates to protect against newly created malware and other malicious attacks.
According to Microsoft “the Windows Insider validation process, has found that 99 percent of apps are compatible with new Windows updates. So, you should generally expect that apps that work on Windows 7 will continue to work on Windows 10 and subsequent feature updates.”
In the event you have an application issue after migrating to Windows 10, Microsoft have developed a desktop application called Assure, this will allow you to create a ticket through Fastrack and a Microsoft engineer will review and try to resolve the issue.
Both Microsoft and Dufeu IT are recommending that all computers and servers running either Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 are either replaced or upgraded by January 14th 2020.
If you would like a free consultation to discuss your upgrade requirements, please contact Dufeu IT on 01933 426162 or for more information visit Dufeu-it.co.uk