Security Risks Increase as Windows 7 Reaches End-Of-Life
The clock is winding down and we’re in the final stretch. Support for Windows 7 officially ends on January 14, 2020. Which means you won’t get any support or updates from Microsoft for Windows 7. The reason why this is such a big deal is that Windows 7 has been significantly popular and widely used. It’s estimated there are still millions of users and businesses around the globe still using this 10-year-old version of Windows.
If your business is still using Windows 7, you will be running without security patches and updates. Hackers and cybercriminals will come up with ways to attack these systems, putting your systems and data at risk.
Learn From the Past
In 2014, when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP, millions of computers were affected. During the following years after, ransom attacks and viruses increased as hackers targeted the then vulnerable Windows XP systems. The longer an XP user kept their license in use, the greater their threat became.
If you are still on Windows 7, the safest option for you may be to upgrade to Windows 10.
What Will Happen if You Keep Using Windows 7 after January, 14th?
- Your applications may not be updated. Many applications are built to work on specific operating systems. With Windows 7 no longer being supported by Microsoft, applications that run on a Windows platform may become incompatible due to cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
- Newer devices may not connect to your systems. Devices and applications alike are designed to block unsecured connections. If your OS is an open portal to hackers, your newer devices may not work with it.
- Computer manufacturers will no longer support Windows 7. This means any device you have running on Windows 7 which breaks down, you may not be able to get it fixed.
- Your employees browsing the web or using web-based applications will expose your business to cyber threats.
- You could be violating a compliance framework your business is obligated to, like PCI or NIST if you don’t maintain the minimum acceptable security standards.
Should You Upgrade to New PCs?
Not necessarily. If your computer is running Windows 7, then it should be able to run Windows 10. Both have the same minimum requirements. However, you must remember Windows 7 is 10-years-old. If you are running a 10-year-old computer, it may be time to consider an upgrade all in one swoop. PCs of today are much more powerful, faster, and durable than they were 10-years-ago. As well as newer laptops have much longer battery life. Both modern desktops and laptops provide increased security. And even better, modern computers are typically less expensive than they were a decade ago.
If you decide to upgrade your existing PCs, the minimum system requirements for Windows 10 are:
- 1 GHz processor or faster
- 1 GB RAM for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Up to 20 GB available hard disk space
- 800 x 600 screen resolution or higher
- DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver
What are the Benefits of Upgrading to Windows 10?
- Your business PCs will have increased security with Advanced Threat Protection. As hackers and cybercriminals grow increasingly sophisticated, it is more important than ever to have proactive threat management in place. Advanced Threat Protection is a Microsoft technology that can identify intrusions, defend your systems, find how they got in, and completely remediate the vulnerability.
- Windows 10 gives you Windows Remote Desktop. This ensures you can access your files from any PC or tablet with an internet connection. This is a great feature if your employees have the option to telecommute.
- Windows 10 also gives you the use of Cortana, the personal assistant that runs on artificial intelligence (AI), an option that Windows 7 doesn’t provide.
- Windows 10 provides touchscreen optimization. If you or your employees are using a tablet, smartphone, or touchscreen laptop, Windows 10 will help to improve your productivity.
- Windows Hello provides both facial and fingerprint recognition. This makes it even harder for unauthorized personnel to access your network. Windows 10 also offers digital credentials and smart cards to help better protect you and your business.
There is no doubt about it, upgrading from Windows 7 to 10 will make your PC run faster and smoother. Give you more economical use of memory and disk space. And fortify your cybersecurity unlike ever before.
How Can You Prepare for the Transition?
Whether you are going to replace your PCs or upgrade your old ones, you need to prepare now. Time is ticking down and you don’t want to put your business and your data at risk by allowing the end-of-life time to lapse.
- Plan on allocating the necessary budget funding now, so the transition can take place.
- If you are upgrading your OS without a hardware upgrade, make sure all of your hardware meets the minimum system requirements.
- Start getting a timeline documented with your internal IT or managed IT firm. Transitioning an entire business’ infrastructure can be time-consuming and won’t happen overnight. You will want to make sure that the transition can be completed before the January 14, 2020 deadline.
At Custom Information Services, we can help you with your transition. We want your upgrade process to be as smooth as possible. So, if you are facing challenges related to the Windows 7 OS end-of-life, CONTACT US today to get started.