In January, 2020 your Windows 7 computers will be serving wine and cheese.
What does this mean?
Windows 7 is finally reaching the last stages of its lifetime, with its end date scheduled for 14th of January 2020. While there is nothing stopping you from using Windows 7 after this date, Windows 7 will no longer get bug fixes, software enhancements or receive critical security updates that keep your computer safe.
A computer still running Windows 7 will be a castle with no moat, portcullis raised, doors flung open, greeting hackers and ransomware with wine and brie.
Once this happens, your software will become much more vulnerable to things like cyber attacks, bugs and other malicious software. Sounds pretty bad right? And it can be.
End of sales with pre-installed Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate happened back on 31 October, 2014. For Windows 7 Professional, this happened two years later.
Risks that face small businesses with Windows 7 computers
In 2017, hackers attacked businesses that were still using Windows XP after its end of life through ransomware named WannaCry. And you really did if this happened to your business. It meant data was encrypted and held ransom, with payment demanded via BitCoin cryptocurrency. Spreading worldwide faster than wildfire, it landed in 150 countries with more than 200 000 computers affected. Billions of dollars of damage knocked on the door of organisations who had old Windows software beyond their end of life. It was one of the most damaging incidents caused by ransomware.
If your business collects personal data, it is your responsibility to let all affected individuals know if there is a data breach that might cause them harm. A data breach is a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorised to do so. Most data breaches involve overexposed and vulnerable unstructured data – files, documents, and sensitive information. These are particularly at risk when software is not updated regularly with security patches.
These attacks can be pretty serious, so keeping your systems protected and updated is essential. The Australian Privacy Act was updated last year to increase the accountability of businesses that hold data online (you can see it here).
What can you do?
Determine which computers are running Windows 7 and have a plan. Migrating everything on your current system to a newer version takes time. Some computers can be upgraded, others will need to be replaced.
The first thing to do is plan for a migration to Windows 10. So how do you do that? The following points can be used as a guideline:
1. Find out which of your computers are using Windows 7
2. Identify the version of Windows 7 you are using (Home or Pro)
3. Determine the age and specs of the machine’s hardware *
4. Find out if the hardware meets the requirements of Windows 10
While planning for a migration to Windows 10 may seem like a hassle, it certainly is more cost effective than risking a potential security breach.
For more information, you can visit Microsoft’s website here.
Windows 7 end of life doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Our friendly team are happy to help with any questions you might have about migrating to Windows 10. Better yet, small to medium business in the Sydney or Brisbane metropolitan areas can book now for a free PC/Desktop health check.
* As a rule of thumb, if the machine is under three years old, it can most likely be upgraded to Windows 10, depending on hardware specifications. Computers more than three years old should be replaced with an updated version that can support Windows 10.
For a limited time*, Boost IT are offering a free on-site Windows 7 Evaluation.
We will schedule an obligation free visit to your office to as soon as possible. Want in?
Don’t forget your contact details.
* Offer available to the first 50 business customers in Sydney and Brisbane. Available to new customers only.
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