Blog: All Things Nortec

The Sun is Setting on Windows 7: Why You Can’t Ignore the Jan 14, 2020, End of Support Date

If at 65 you ask your doctor for a “quick fix” for the damage you did over decades of drinking and smoking, they’ll likely tell you that you’re out of luck. And, when businesses come to us asking for a way to fix technology that is so old the manufacturer no longer supports it, we have the same response.

Like your health, you either care for your business or you don’t. Maintaining your basic operating system is like eating healthy and drinking enough water – nobody enjoys it, but it’s necessary to the vitality of your organization.

When you buy Microsoft products, you know they won’t be around forever. At some point, the hardware or software will enter end of life (EOL). This means the manufacturer has decided to stop selling the product but still offers support. They will continue to patch security flaws and your software is protected.

This support won’t last forever. When Microsoft designates software as EOL, they also identify a date after which they will stop offering security releases and patching. This is end of support (EOS). Ignoring it opens your organization to threats.

Sunsetting is the phase between EOL and EOS and is when many people plan their transition away from old systems. For Windows 7, Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008, we’re in the sunsetting period.

On January 14, 2020, Windows 7, Server 2008 and SQL 2008 will receive final patches. After this date, all this software moves to end-of-support. The time to start planning for this is now because, like your health, you need to look after your technology if you want to succeed.

 

How Windows 7 and Server 2008 End-of-Support Impacts Your Business

Failing to transition your systems to Windows 10 or Server 2016 before January 14, 2020, won’t just cause problems for a single computer or server, it endangers your entire organization.

Here’s how:

You won’t pass audits

Organizations won’t meet compliance standards if they are operating on Windows 7 or Server 2008. You are no longer protecting confidential client data. This applies to healthcare, government contractors, financial institutions and just about any other business that needs to follow compliance regulations.

Customers

Even if you don’t have legal data obligations, your customers expect security. Diligently following best practices shows your customers they can trust you, and you owe it to them to keep them safe.

You’re no longer secure

Every week Microsoft releases patches for their software. These often fix new security vulnerabilities that have been detected. When servers and operating systems go past EOS, they are no longer getting checked for vulnerabilities and patched. This is the perfect storm for hackers. They’ve been preparing, knowing that businesses using technology past EOS will not be able to get support. Owners find themselves backed into a corner and are held ransom by the hackers.

Worst-case scenario: WannaCry Attack

This is exactly what happened in 2017 with the WannaCry attack. Hackers took advantage of leaked NSA information and targeted hospitals in the United Kingdom running Windows XP. Work was brought to a standstill, critical surgeries were canceled, and it cost millions of dollars. You do not want a similar scenario to unfold at your business, even on a smaller scale, all because you didn’t update your technology.

You Don’t Still Have the iPhone 3G, Do You?

Windows 7 launched in October 2009, the same year Apple released the iPhone 3G. Just like each subsequent iPhone was an improvement over the previous model, new Microsoft products will have better security, more resilience and improved productivity.

Your hardware shelf life often expires at the same time as your software because you can’t easily run new server software on an older box.  For instance, you wouldn’t want to add Windows 10 to your 5-year-old laptop. The sunsetting phase of older technology is the perfect time to migrate to the cloud. You’ll be able to quickly scale up or down and will have constant access to a steady stream of innovations to make your organization more efficient.

Next Steps for End of Support

  1. Figure out how many windows servers, SQL servers and desktops need to be updated.
  2. Call your software vendors and make sure the apps you use now will run on your new server.
  3. Determine your timeline and budget for upgrading.

Managed IT services providers can help too, especially if you are switching to the cloud. Look for a Microsoft partner with Gold Competencies in Azure, SQL and the cloud. They’ll be your most valuable resource in determining what steps you want to take and can help you take advantage of the different offers Microsoft has for moving from on-premise to cloud platforms like Azure and SQL.

We can help. Contact Nortec today to start planning for the change: 866-531-1990.

Nortec Communications - Washington D.C