January 2020…..You Have Less Than 6 Months
Are you still using Windows 7 and/or Office 2010?
If you answered yes to either of these, or indeed both, its time to start thinking about upgrading. Windows 7 was and still is, a good operating system, but all good things must come to an end and that time is just around the corner.
End of Life
On the 14th January 2020, Microsoft will be pulling the plug on Windows 7, it will become what we call in the techy world ‘end of life’.
This doesn’t suddenly mean your computer will stop working, or a zombie apocalypse will be upon us, it simply means there won’t be any further support or updates for it. Now this might not sound too bad, in fact some of you might be jumping for joy that those dreaded Windows updates which appear to take a lifetime will suddenly become a thing of the past, but lets look at the negatives and indeed the dangers that this brings with it.
The reason we get Windows updates is more often than not, to apply security fixes. This means if any holes are found, they block them. Think about it like leaving your bathroom window open when you’re out, a burglar would be the cybercriminal, they have found a way in and will use it to get what they want. So Microsoft release these security patches to keep all the doors and windows closed as tightly as possible from uninvited guests in your systems. Without these important updates/patches, the door is left permanently open. You might think that by now every possible vulnerability in the system will have been found, but that is never the case and hackers are a clever bunch, who continuously find new ways to manipulate software. It’s a never-ending cycle of good against evil.
It is believed by experts that cyber criminals are probably already sitting on new found vulnerabilities within Windows 7 and are just waiting for the start of next year to use them. Why? Because nobody will stop them and it will stay that way. This process is expected to be especially nasty this time round, since so many businesses still use the operating system and are likely to forget (or refuse) to upgrade.
The same applies if you are using:
- Exchange 2010
- Small Business Server 2011
- Windows Server 2008
It isn’t just Windows that has done its time either, Office 2010 will also become end of life next year on the 13th October, which brings with it the same security risk.
It’s easy to think it won’t happen to you and you won’t be targeted, but the truth is they don’t target you specifically. You are simply caught up in Volumatic attacks where it is just a numbers game. The attack ‘on the NHS’ was not on the NHS, they were just caught up in an attack that was designed to extort ransom money from thousands of business owners.
With the level of Cyber threat we face today, it’s simply far too great a risk to put off upgrading any out of date software and if you’re using both of these, we would advise doing both at the same time. Its done then and we all know how quickly the years roll by. There might be a little time left for Windows 7, but it will be December/January before you know it and you need to ensure everything is done before it gets forgotten about. Truth be told, if you’re still using Office 2010 and haven’t experience Office 365 yet, you’re missing out on some amazing functionality and features. We use it daily and would never dream of looking back.
Still Unsure and Willing to Risk You Won’t Fall Victim?
A stoppage on updates won’t be the only concern if your business still relies on Windows 7. Software applications that you use and no doubt rely on, will eventually become incompatible with Windows 7 and programmes your company uses day-to-day suddenly become unusable which will present serious problems.
If you value your business at all, it’s not a choice. You need to upgrade before time runs out and there really is no time like the present.
As well as the fact Windows 7 will not be supported it will be said you are not taking your GDPR responsibilities seriously as a business that uses unsupported technology and therefore not taking reasonable measures to protect the security of the data you hold.
You will also instantly fail the governments own Cyber Essentials certification.
Avoid the Crunch
Don’t leave it too late, we have already had to move the office around to accommodate the constant wall of cardboard boxes with new PC’s in for clients! If you wait it out, you’re likely to find yourself at the back of a queue, potentially to the point that the 14th January 2020 comes and goes, without a solution.