IT Security

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Microsoft will officially stop supporting Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (and 2008 R2) on the 14th January 2020. If are still using either of these operating systems, then it is essential that you move away from these operating systems as soon as possible.

Why is Microsoft support stopping?

Microsoft have said they will no longer support both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (and R2) because the products are so outdated, and with newer versions available, it wouldn’t be cost or time efficient to support such old products.

This isn’t unique to Microsoft. Any software house/developer will encourage users and businesses to update to the latest versions of their products. The reason for updating to the latest versions is that it will contain patches and new features that older versions do not. Older versions will be maintained to an extent, but there will come a point that ensuring an old version works and is secure, will not be financially viable.

What happens when support stops?

When support stops for these products, your device will be vulnerable to attacks from hackers. On the 14th January, Windows Updates will no longer be released to these older operating systems – which are used to install fixes/patches for issues and security vulnerabilities identified. If these vulnerabilities are no longer fixed, then this leaves a backdoor for hackers to exploit, which means that they could carry out attacks ranging from installing malware, to stealing data from the device. Research carried out by Hiscox unveiled that 55% of firms based in the UK, including London, faced some form of cyber-attack 2019 – up by 40% from last year. So with cyber-crime on the increase, it is imperative that users and businesses ensure their devices are as secure as possible.

In addition to the security vulnerabilities, using systems with unsupported software will leave you violating GDPR policies as you would not be fulfilling the requirements for properly securing your systems.

What should you as a London business do?

Put simply, you should no longer use a device if it is using Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 (or R2). You should instead look at upgrading to a newer version of Windows such as Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019.

For Windows 7, you can upgrade straight from this to Windows 10, but for Windows server 2008 you must first upgrade to Windows server 2012 and then upgrade again to 2016 or 2019. You can purchase new licences in store or online.

The other option is to use this as an opportunity to replace your PC with a new model that will include the latest operating system as part of it. This could be more cost efficient, particularly if your device is 3-4 years you can upgrade old and performance has deteriorated.

Another option is to take the opportunity to move some or all of your services to the Cloud, removing the need for on-premise equipment altogether. 

Conclusion

Whilst devices with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 will still operate, we can’t stress enough the importance of upgrading or just not using a device with these operating systems installed. It will only be a matter of time before things stop working and you are targeted by hackers, resulting in loss of data or potentially be on the receiving end of blackmail (ransomware, for example).

If your business needs any assistance with the upgrade process or requires some consultancy work, please use our contact form and we will get back to you.