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Windows 7 end of life, what does it mean for my business?

On the 14th of January 2020 Windows 7 will be entering its end of life, the implications for machines running this are far reaching as Microsoft will be abandoning all support for the operating system, including bug fixes, updates & most critically security patches that will no longer be produced or rolled out.

Traditionally any software Microsoft releases comes with a ten-year support life cycle which has been followed Windows 7 was released back in October 2009. This means going forward all machines will need to be updated to Windows 10 to continue receiving the essential updates included in the support package.

What should I do?
For any business still running a Windows 7 machine, replacing the device with one that comes with Windows 10 is highly recommended but here at ATB we are happy to assess each machine on an individual basis. Most machines that came with Windows 7 unfortunately no longer have the “horsepower” to drive Windows 10 at a usable pace.

How much will this cost my business?
The outcome of this could be costly for all business however we strive to set realistic road-maps for upgrading & replacing older machines to ensure all devices are brought up to date before the deadline. For any specific advice on devices or upgrades please speak to our sales team or reach out to our engineers directly.

What happens if I continue to use Windows 7?
No changes will be immediately visible as Windows will continue to run but you will be left highly unprotected and ATB will not be able to take responsibility for any consequences of continuing to use windows 7. The security hole that will be created by the lack of patches is certain to be exploited within months if not weeks by malicious actors and our goal Is to ensure this does not happen. A prime example of what happens to business when security updates are not adhered to is the “Wannacry” incident at the NHS in 2017

Despite being warned in 2012 to re-evaluate this, the NHS at the time relied heavily on specialised legacy software. The process of testing new or updated versions of critical software could have disrupted patient care. However, the “wannacry” outbreak that was let in through outdated operating systems cost them a lot more than it would have if they had updated the software as recommended. Their negligence resulted in the disruption of 81 English health trusts, leading to the cancellation of an estimated 19,494 medical appointments, including 139 potential cancer referrals.

When do other Microsoft products reach end of life?
For those looking to prepare for the windows 8 end of life, below is a table of all scheduled Microsoft end of life announcements up until 2025.

Operating System End of life date
Windows Server 2008 14/01/2020
Windows 7 14/01/2020
Office 2010 13/10/2020
Windows Server 2012 10/01/2023
Windows 8/8.1 10/01/2023
Office 2013 11/04/2023
Windows 10 14/10/2025
Office 2016 14/10/2025

In Conclusion
Microsoft has not suggested that it has any plans to make businesses contractually obliged to show that they are working towards migration, as they did with Windows XP. Although, when it comes to something as important as your business security and infrastructure, ATB would like to help you get the correct continuity measures in place to avoid any "disaster" scenario.

If you have concerns about the migration or are looking for costings, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get in touch, a member of our staff will be happy to assist, otherwise we will reach out in due course with the best solution to bring the business forward.

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