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Why Microsoft End of Life Matters to Businesses

Cards Technology

If your business is running Microsoft Windows 7 or Server 2008, you need to prepare for end of life. Sam Card, CEO at Cards Technology, explains what you need to know for your business.

1. What’s the difference between end of mainstream support and end of extended support?

When a product is first released, it is under mainstream support. Users receive software updates, patches and technical support. About 3 to 4 years after the product is launched, the software reaches “end of mainstream support”. At this point – what they call “extended support” – you’ll still receive updates and patches, but no additional features will be developed, and major bugs will not be addressed. Eventually, the product reaches “end of extended support” where the developer releases no updates or patches and no longer provides technical support of any kind.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Server 2008 reached the end of mainstream support in January 2015 and will enter the end of extended support on January 14, 2020.

2. Why does Windows 7 and Server 2008 end of life matter for my business?

While your operating system will continue to work after January 14, 2020, your security won’t be up to date. This is problematic if you need to meet regulatory requirements, like HIPAA or PCI. Without updates and security patches, you will no longer be compliant.

Ignoring the deadline by failing to upgrade your systems will increase your chance of being hacked. After January 14, 2020, viruses created for Windows 7 or Server 2008 can be more easily transmitted computer-to-computer or spread through phishing. When an operating system is reaching end of life, many 3rd party software developers will also stop supporting their software on the end of life operating system, usually even before the end date. This will affect your team’s productivity because business applications you rely on for daily tasks will eventually stop being compatible with your outdated operating system.

3. I didn’t include the upgrade in my IT budget for 2019. What should I do?

I’ve been having this conversation about end of life with clients since last year. Some even started buying new computers in the fall of last year. But if you don’t have a budget to purchase new hardware along with the upgrades, you can start by upgrading to a valid Windows 10 license. If your equipment is aging and can’t support the operating system upgrade, you can look into leasing options, like hardware as a service or a virtual desktop platform.

4. Why upgrade to Windows 10?

We rarely encounter problems with Windows 10 and clients who experienced frequent issues with Windows 7 have been far more satisfied with Windows 10. Overall, it is faster and more user-friendly, offers better organizational tools, includes new security features like Advanced Threat Protection, and increases your control through the start button.