We’ve known for years now that Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008 R2) will reach its end of life in January 2020. Well that time has finally come, and many people are still clinging to the beloved OS.
Windows 7 was the most popular operating system after Windows XP, known for its stability and ease of use. Many people have been reluctant to upgrade to the latest Microsoft operating system out of fear of another mishap like Windows Vista or Windows 8. However, upgrading will soon be non-optional for companies that rely on the popular operating system in the office. More so for companies with compliance requirements (such as HIPAA or CJIS).
Are you or your employees or coworkers still using Windows 7? Here’s what end of life means for an operating system, and six reasons why everyone needs to upgrade now.
What does End of Life mean?
End of life refers to the date that a brand stops selling, marketing, providing updates for, or generally supporting a particular product. In other words, that product becomes obsolete.
Windows 7 end of life means that the operating system becomes obsolete on January 14, 2020. That’s when Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7, and anyone who continues to use the operating system does so at their own risk.
Computers that have the operating system installed will continue to work. Most people may not even notice at first that the operating system is no longer supported. Over time, however, the lack of security patches and system updates will become more apparent. The system will gradually become more susceptible to viruses, new software and programs will cease compatibility, and businesses running Windows 7 may find themselves the target of more frequent attacks.
Microsoft has one safety net for companies that can’t—or won’t—update.
In December 2019, some 30 percent of computers with Windows installed were still running Windows 7, a testament to the system’s popularity. According to Microsoft, many of these users are businesses without the time or resources to upgrade their computers.
For certain businesses with extended licenses, Microsoft will offer pay-to-patch services until January 2023. However, this is meant as only extra time for these companies to upgrade to Windows 10 or else find an alternative operating system. The Windows 7 extended support will also cost a lot—it’s expected to range from $25 to $200 per device, getting more expensive every year. Likewise, companies must purchase year one to purchase year two, and so on.
Paying for the extended support patches is a temporary and last resort measure for companies that are unable to upgrade. However, the majority of organizations can—and should.
6 Reasons to Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 10
Microsoft strongly encourages everyone to upgrade to Windows 10, citing the significant security risks that come with continuing to use an obsolete system. Businesses, especially, should update to Windows 10 because:
1. Windows 10 Is Much More Optimized
Windows 10 is optimized for the business environment. From machine learning that discerns “active hours” to major improvements in the user interface, the operating system is designed to be the bedrock of an office.
2. Security Patches Are Free
Microsoft releases Windows 10 security updates and patches for free. This makes Windows 7 extended support an easily avoidable expense.
3. Windows 10 Has More Security Features Than Any Previous OS
As security becomes a more significant focus for everyone, Microsoft has started building into its latest operating system more security features. From Windows Defender to BitLocker and Application Guard, the operating system has several highly effective security measures to keep data safe.
4. Compliance Is Easier on Windows 10
Companies that work with protected health information or another form of regulated data will find themselves struggling with maintaining compliance. Critically, it will be impossible to attain HIPAA compliance with Windows 7 after January 14, 2020. However, Windows 10 Enterprise has HIPAA compliance settings.
5. Extended Support Will End in 2023
Although some organizations may scrape by with the extended support upgrades, they will ultimately end in 2023. At that point, companies that still haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 will face the same situation as they do now—with no recourse other than to rush their upgrade or transition to a whole different operating system.
6. Windows 10 Is the Last Microsoft Operating System
Microsoft has called Windows 10 the last version of Windows since it was released in 2015. It will support Windows 10 with patches and updates. Theoretically, organizations that upgrade to Windows 10 will never have to upgrade their operating systems again.
Need to Upgrade? We Can Help
Microsoft is sounding the alarms for anyone still running Windows 7. The time to upgrade to the latest and most secure Windows operating system is now. Doing so may prove challenging to a company that doesn’t have time to take all of its computers offline to deal with the upgrade. CDS Office Technologies can help. We’ll bring in a skilled team of Microsoft Certified Professionals to efficiently and effortlessly bring the organization’s computers up to speed.
Worried about the cost?
We can help with that. We offer tons of flexible payment plans, leases and other financing options to ease the burden of equipment upgrades and replacement. If you like the idea of always having the latest and greatest systems, perpetual warranty, and hassle free maintenance and replacement of your systems, ask us about a Tech Utilization Agreement.
Don’t introduce unnecessary and avoidable risks to the office. Contact CDS now to discuss upgrading to Windows 10.