Here’s What to Do If You’re Still Running Windows 7
It’s common for businesses to fall behind schedule with regards to patches and upgrades; the challenges this year mean that’s almost inevitable. Nevertheless, it’s important for businesses to come up with a plan to help get back on track. One of the many upgrades to plan for is Window 7.
Windows 7 End of Support
Windows 7 reached its end of support date back in January this year. Mainstream support ended back in 2015; this is actually the end of the extended support period. As a result, there will no longer be any patches or bug fixes. As a result, while existing systems continue to run, they also will continue to remain vulnerable to any new security threats. Some have suggested this risk will even increase, because unprotected Windows 7 systems may become a more attractive target for malicious users.
Addressing Windows 7 End of Support
The solution to this issue is, obviously, to move off of the unsupported Windows 7 software and onto a new version that continues to receive critical support. For most users, this will mean upgrading to Windows 10; Microsoft provides guidance for the upgrade along with tools to ensure application compatibility. For some businesses, this end of support date makes it worthwhile to consider other platforms such as Linux or MacOS. It’s also a good opportunity to consider whether you should upgrade hardware along with the operating system upgrade.
In addition to upgrading the OS, this is a good opportunity for businesses to consider switching to Microsoft 365. The new name for Office 365, Microsoft 365 includes access to Microsoft’s suite of business applications, as well as services including Exchange, SharePoint, and Teams. As a cloud-based service, Microsoft 365 offers reliability while reducing the level of support required of your own IT team.
Keeping Windows 7 Where Necessary
There may be some systems where upgrading from Windows 7 isn’t possible due to business reasons. When that’s the case, businesses should take steps to isolate those systems from the rest of the network due to their increased vulnerability to malware. There are several approaches to this, including moving these machines to a network that has no access to the public internet.
Another option is to purchase “extended security updates” for Windows 7 from Microsoft. These updates will fix some security patches, but you’ll pay a per-device fee. You should view this as a stopgap measure, as the fee is scheduled to rise each year and Microsoft may not provide fixes for all vulnerabilities.
Desktop support from Prescient Solutions helps businesses in Chicago and Schaumburg address all their desktop support needs. Contact us to learn how our IT consulting and managed services can help your business solve your Windows 7 upgrade and other technology challenges.