After a several official warnings, and a series of notifications popping up every time you turned on the computer in the beginning of 2020, Microsoft has completely ended support for currently the second most used operating system in the world – Windows 7.
The saga about this product’s end of life is hardly new – it’s been a hot topic for years now – but it seems that most users did not take recommendations about installing the newest Windows 10 quite seriously. One could say it is in human nature not to change the things that work; however, is this still the case with Windows 7?
If a system still performs as it should, some hesitation about transitioning to a new one can be expected; after all, this process does require time, money and resources. But this is not the case with Windows 7 – using it even after the official support has ended brings along many potential and real problems. These vary from increased cyber-attacks risks, problems with compliance, increased vulnerability of the whole system – the problems that can occur open new possibilities for hackers to use the system’s “weak spots”.
In the light of these changed circumstances, here are the things you should know as company owners, managers or service providers still relying on Windows 7.
What does “end of support” mean?
Contrary to the popular opinion, end of support to an operating system does not mean the complete shutdown of all computers running on it; people are still using Windows 7, even though its official end of support date, January 14th 2020, is long in the past. However, what it does mean is that this system will not be receiving any regular security updates, technical assistance, or any other software updates from Microsoft.
To be more specific: while the operating system will still function, it will be much more vulnerable to malware, viruses, other cyber-attacks and potential crises. As long as Windows 7 had been receiving extended support, the safety issues that emerged were addressed this way. This is not the case anymore: and if you know it, better be sure malicious hackers are also aware of it and how it makes their job easier.
Apart from important security features, the old system will cease to receive updates about many new applications, or support them, making innovation and work modernization significantly harder.
Can I expect real problems?
Straight to the point – probably yes, and they can become even more serious if a large part of your business is running on the old operating system.
In the last couple of years, Windows 7 users have been reporting a great deal of bugs: from a case where computers could not shutdown or restart, to an example in connection with the last update, KB4534310, which turned the desktop wallpaper black for some users who installed it. According to some opinions, this was the final sign of Windows 7 truly going down.
The situation escalated in 2017, when it was speculated that WannaCry ransomware used a non-updated Windows security system and completely blocked it, causing great problems in 16 hospitals in the UK. This attack has made access to medical documentation impossible to their employees, eventually even leading to surgeries being rescheduled.
Apart from the bugs discovered up until now, thinking about the future ones that could appear is quite concerning. Running a business on an operating system that has lost the official support comes attached with countless risks to the business – beginning with your clients’ number one enemy, uncertainty, as they prioritize safety and cooperation stability.
What are my next steps?
If your organization is still using Windows 7, it is important that you become aware of the situation you’re in, potential risks attached to it and their possible escalation. You should know what you can expect from Windows 7, but also what this operating system cannot provide neither to you, nor to your clients and business partners anymore.
Windows 10, as the newest operating system providing full functionality for its users, is a logical next step for businesses and organizations aiming to avoid potential large-scale crises. There are also some hybrid solutions, giving you the possibility to continue day to day operations safely until you decide it is time for a complete migration.
The great news is – you don’t have to go through this transition alone. Comtrade System Integration (CTSI) engineers and business consultants can recommend the best way of transitioning to secure and technologically advanced ways of doing business. CSTI has been proclaimed Microsoft’s Partner of the Year multiple times; this makes us reliable associates and expert consultants on the topic.
It is the right time to schedule free consultations with some of our experts – click here and contact us today.