On January 14th, 2020, Windows 7 will not be supported by Microsoft anymore. While the software will still work, Microsoft will no longer provide technical assistance and software updates to protect PCs operating Windows 7. Microsoft suggests upgrading to Windows 10 for the latest software and security upgrades. There are however a few alternatives that should be worth considering.
If you own a business or are in charge of making sure that your IT and operations are running effectively, then you understand the implications of what this seemingly small change could bring. And while there are ramifications to the Windows 7 end of life and extended support, the impacts can be easily managed if you act proactively. Having guided companies through end of life cycles, we’ve laid out a few approaches so that you understand what the Windows 7 end of support in 2020 will mean for your business.
How Windows 7 End of Life and Extended Support May Impact Your Company
The end of life means that your company will no longer have access to bug-fixes, security patches or new functionalities. If you continue to use Windows 7 after this point, your computers and network will be much more susceptible to malware attacks.
According to research by Kaspersky, 40% of very small businesses and 48% of small, medium-sized businesses and enterprises still rely on out-dated systems like Windows XP or Windows 7 that have reached end of life and extended support. The biggest issue with continuing to use Windows 7 is that your devices won’t be patched for any new viruses or security problems, which may leave your company extremely vulnerable to emerging threats. Hackers are particularly aware of businesses that are using software with limited security and focus their efforts to breach these systems. Depending on a company’s line of business, a single breach could result in data loss costing a company millions of dollars in damages.
Why You Should Consider Upgrading
With the end of support for Windows 7 in 2020, you may want to consider upgrading to ensure your company remains secure. In recent years, Microsoft has been pushing Office 365, a subscription-based offering that includes support, storage, and online access to Microsoft programs and applications. When NIC IT determines if a client is best suited to upgrade to Office 365 or another Windows operating system, we take the following factors into consideration:
- Risk of Cyber Attacks – The single most important factor when determining how to continue with Windows 7 end of life and extended support is the risk of a malware attack. If you decide to continue Windows 7 in 2020 past the end of support, you will increase the risk that your system could be breached.
- Hardware Capabilities – Depending on operating system upgrades, it is essential that your infrastructure is able to meet the new operating system’s requirements. Windows 10, for example, is a modern operating system that may have more difficulty running on an older Windows 7 machine. The Windows 7 end of life and extended support could mean that you need to upgrade machines in addition to software.
- Price of Updating Windows 7 – While you may be able to negotiate on price to a certain extent, expect to pay $25 per device in the first year, $50 per device in the second year, and $100 per device for security updates to Windows 7. If you run Windows 7 pro, these “add-ons” to your Windows licensing agreement will double in price.
After taking these factors into consideration, NIC IT will see how upgrading could be a solution for dealing with the Windows 7 end of life and extended support. Depending on your budget and business operations, there are a few alternatives to upgrading. Choosing an alternative to Windows 7 will impact both your budget and time for implementation. Whether choosing between a premium upgrade to Windows 7, or entirely new operating system upgrades to Microsoft Windows 10 or Microsoft Office 365, the best decision will keep your business running smoothly. Choosing the right option may even help improve business integrations.
Making a Cost-Effective Plan and Taking Action
One of the first steps you can take to understand the impact that Windows 7 end of life and extended support have on your organization is by assessing your current infrastructure. Understanding how many instances of Windows 7 you are running and seeing how these instances are connected to the network can help you understand the security risks. The more connected your infrastructure is to the public internet and the sensitivity of your data are two factors that you should take into consideration when determining to upgrade.
Microsoft Windows 7 end of life and extended support may seem like a costly annoyance at first. The end of support for Windows 7 in 2020 could in fact act as a catalyst to help your company operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. By transitioning to Microsoft Office 365, you could end up reducing costs by storing data on Microsoft’s cloud, increasing security by keeping up-to-date with the latest patches, and expanding synergies across your company with Microsoft’s online sharing programs.
Are you interested in talking with an expert on which option is best for your company? Schedule a free consultation with NIC IT to see how we can help you upgrade from Microsoft Windows 7 and keep you secured.