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Breathe New Life into Your Devices: Prepare for Windows 7 End of Life

Author: Constantin Roman | 6 min read | January 10, 2020

Windows 7 has had a great run, outliving its expected lifetime by many years. It’s 10 years old and millions of people all over the world are still using it. But, that situation needs to change by January 14, 2020, the date Microsoft has targeted for the Windows 7 End of Life. There are critical problems that will arise if you continue to use Windows 7 past its End of Life, so you need to prepare now.

What Does Windows 7 End of Life Mean?

Your Windows 7 devices will still operate normally after January 14, but Microsoft won’t provide technical support, software updates, or security updates and fixes.

It’s tough for users, but it’s something Microsoft needs to do. Microsoft can’t afford to continue to maintain an outdated version of their operating system. They introduce new capabilities, updates and bug fixes on a regular basis and their focus now is on working with their latest version, Windows 10.

It wouldn’t be economically feasible for Microsoft to maintain two versions of their operating system. Further, it wouldn’t be reasonable to try to make Windows 7 do all the things Windows 10 does because the technology has advanced. Another way to look at it is that Microsoft has created a newer, better and more stable version of Windows 7 and it’s called Windows 10.

What are the Risks of Staying with Windows 7?

As of January 14, 2020 Windows 7 will become the Frankenstein of operating systems. It will still operate, but it will be on the road to self-destruction. Consider these three major risks as you think about what to do next.

Cybersecurity Risks

You work hard to protect your computers and networks from cybersecurity attacks. You know how devastating an attack can be. In fact, the statistics on cybercrime are daunting:

  • By 2021, experts estimate that responding to cyberattacks will cost $6 trillion each year
  • Research indicates that top companies spend $25 per minute to resolve cyber breaches
  • Phishing scams alone caused over $26 million in losses between 2016 and 2019

Microsoft will stop providing Windows 7 security updates on January 14, 2020. That means that any device running Windows 7 will be extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals aren’t blind to that fact. There’s no doubt that many are planning to target Windows 7 systems more aggressively to take advantage of their vulnerability.

If you’re in an industry that requires compliance with standards and regulations, you’re facing an even larger problem. If your sensitive data is unprotected, you’re leaving yourself open to penalties related to lack of compliance. Those penalties can come from regulators, but there’s also the chance of damaging your standing in your industry. That penalty will unlock an entirely new set of issues for your organization’s future.

An Increase in Your Operating Costs

If you’re not getting technical support and software and security updates from Microsoft, you’ll need to expend your own resources to fill the gap. If you don’t already employ Windows 7 experts who can provide technical support and software updates, you’ll need to recruit some. If you do have the talent, you’ll need to pull them away from supporting your core business systems.

As you replace old computers, you’ll find it impossible to find a version of Windows 7 to purchase, although you may find a copy on Craigslist. Vendors will soon bundle Windows 10 with new devices, and you won’t have an option to downgrade. If you stay with Windows 7, you’ll be doomed to expanding your operation to support two operating systems.

From a cybersecurity standpoint, if you experience a data breach, you should know that globally, the average cost to resolve a data breach is $3.92 million. It’s even worse in the U.S. where the average cost is $8.2 million. That’s a big hit on your operating cost, and it will have a significant impact on your organization’s profitability.

Microsoft does offer a Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) program, but you’ll still be expending resources to pay for it. In addition, the cost for ESU will increase every year and you’ll still face the problem of upgrading after Microsoft discontinues the ESU.

Blocking Digital Transformation

Technology moves fast. Windows 7 was an outstanding operating system 10 years ago. In the interim, operating systems and applications have advanced significantly. If you continue with your Windows 7 devices, you’ll cripple your organization when it comes to digital transformation.

Windows 10 offers many enhancements, including more speed, a better appearance, greater usability, and more effective security. You’ll need all of its enhancements to continue to support your organization’s future development.

How Can You Prepare for the Windows 7 End of Life?

Your best alternative is to upgrade your devices to Windows 10. To ensure a smooth upgrade, start by evaluating your existing devices. To run Windows 10, a computer needs at least a 1 GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 20 GB hard disk. Plan to upgrade any existing computer that doesn’t meet those specifications. In most cases, Windows 10 will be bundled with your hardware purchase. Then, buy a new Windows 10 license for existing computers that support it.

You could take this opportunity to change to a different operating system such as Mac OS X or Linux. That change will be more costly and require much higher resources, but it may make sense if it’s the right change for your organization.

How Can Datavail Help?

As a Windows managed services provider, Datavail can help you complete your Windows 7 migration quickly and easily. Our end-to-end managed services include creating roadmaps and strategic plans, completing Windows upgrades, managing and monitoring servers, systems administration, and technical support.

For more information, download our whitepaper titled, “It is End of Life for Windows 7. What Comes Next?” If you’d like to talk to us about your migration, give us a call at 877-634-9222, chat with us or send an email.

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