Windows 7 is currently in “extended support” until January 14, 2020, after which Microsoft will no longer support it.
Here’s what that means for your business:
No More Security Updates
When Microsoft stops supporting a version of Windows, they stop issuing security updates for that operating system. They no longer provide critical security updates, cancel complimentary support for the OS to end users, stop updates, bug fixes and end support for businesses using the operating system. Microsoft will only offer paid extended security updates to users with Windows 7 Enterprise Licenses and volume license agreements. Not sure if you're an Enterprise user? Call us to find out. Hackers can discover huge security holes that affect Windows 7 and Microsoft won’t issue security updates to safeguard you, you’re on your own!
The risk of not upgrading once extended support ends is that systems running Windows 7 will become vulnerable to un-patched security risks within the OS and the applications it runs. An upgrade will become essential to remain protected against the hundreds of thousands of malware samples that hit the internet every day, as well as the billions of samples that are already out there.
Ransomware incidents skyrocketed in 2017, shutting down hospitals, banks, and many other organizations that were running out-of-date software on their PCs. Ransomware cost businesses and governments billions in 2017. This potential cost to productivity can hurt businesses quickly as it takes time to get the workstations back up and running. In addition, essential business assets like patient data, credit card information, and company documentation can be stolen during an attack.
Running end-of-life software represents not only a significant risk to your security, but it also likely constitutes a compliance violation under various regulatory and compliance standards. This includes the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, Ontario Dental Association, HIPAA/PIPEDA and PCI Compliance. You can be liable if patient data is not safely handled.
Having out of date operating systems in your office will also make you fail your security scan for becoming PCI Compliant. If you are using credit cards in your business, this is a requirement to make sure credit card information is secure.
New software is released because of technology and user improvements, like: speed, aesthetics, usability, efficiency, capability, and/or security. Eventually, old software becomes incompatible with new operating systems.
Protect Your Business
Un-patched systems are vulnerable not only to known attacks, but also to as-yet-unknown attacks that are sure to come in the future — being proactive to protect your business and its digital assets is smart business.