Windows 7 Is No Longer Supported by Microsoft. Now What?
Hopefully you’re reading this on a device that is running an operating system other than Windows 7. If not, I have some bad news for you.
You’re on your own.
Well, not exactly. If you’re a large enterprise, you may have a special agreement with Microsoft that grants you what is effectively an extension to today’s deadline. Otherwise, you’re running on an operating system that will not be patched or updated anymore.
If you’re a business in Connecticut or Massachusetts still running Windows 7, Kelser would be happy to help you. As Kelser VP of Sales Brian Mulligan explains in this CMSWire article, moving to Microsoft’s cloud suite is a great alternative.
As of today, Microsoft will not be issuing patches for Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7, which was first released in 2009. That means that when a new vulnerability is discovered that can be exploited by hackers to compromise a system running these operating systems, Microsoft won’t be issuing a fix. It sounds scary, but I mean, how often does that really happen, right?
Microsoft issued 70 critical patches in 2019. 70. As Kelser CTO Jonathan Stone pointed out in this interview on WFSB Channel 3, that’s more than one per week. And that’s just the “critical” patches. 550 “important” patches were released across all versions of Windows 7 as well.
Of course, just because a security vulnerability exists doesn’t mean it will be exploited by hackers right away. The massive WannaCry cyber attack compromised computers across the world in 2017 including hospitals and major companies. It exploited a vulnerability in Windows XP which had reached its end of support in 2014. So, it could take some time before a system running Windows 7 is compromised, but how long is anyone’s guess, and it’s truly a “when” and not an “if” at this point.
For consumers, upgrading won’t take long. At most it would take an hour or two and you wouldn’t have to be watching the computer the whole time. You could make dinner or something while the computer downloads and installs the new operating system. The price tag is $119, though free upgrades were available for years, and may still be possible.
For businesses, it’s a much more complex proposition. Most companies rely on apps that integrate with Windows in some way. It could be an EHR (electronic health record) system in a hospital, or sales and logistics software for a retail business. Upgrading the operating system has a tendency to break these connections. At Kelser, we’ve been working with clients to prepare for this transition for over a year.
Continuing to run Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 may not cause a massive data breach tomorrow, but the risk will increase daily from here on out. Since upgrading is something that simply has to be done at some point, taking care of it as soon as possible is clearly the wisest course, especially since it’s not possible for a business to upgrade the same day they decide to do so like it is for a consumer. It takes preparation, testing and strategy to seamlessly transition the operating system of a business.
If you have any concerns about how Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 end of support could impact your organization in Connecticut or Massachusetts, please feel free to reach out to us.