If you’re still using Windows 7, take note: the cut-off date for security updates and support is the 14th of January 2020.
Despite the looming end-of-life date for Windows 7, at the time of publishing, it still accounts for a massive 30% of the marketplace (according to netmarketshare.com). This includes many organisations’ mission-critical services. If your organisation is still shackled to Windows 7, there’s a good chance that when support goes down, it’ll take you with it.
What will change?
In the immediate aftermath, nothing will change. You’ll still be able to use your Windows 7 software and any services hosted on it. However, extended protection will end, meaning that when a vulnerability is found in Windows 7 – and these vulnerabilities will be found – Microsoft won’t patch them out of the operating system.
Software updates for third-party software will eventually stop too, as developers move away from the platform.
At this point, any computer with internet access and Windows 7 will be open to attack by malicious actors. What’s worse, even the most robust firewalls and antivirus software won’t be able to protect you against operating system vulnerabilities.
What’s the threat?
Hackers love end-of-life software. In fact, many digital thieves make a living off of the expectation and inevitability that some people and organisations won’t move away from their end-of-life software.
Given recent history, they have good reason to believe this will be the case with Windows 7. When extended support ended for Windows XP in 2014, this invited a number of attacks – none quite so infamous as the WannaCry ransomware attack that crippled the UK government and even destroyed much of the NHS’ essential IT services.
In fact, the UK government has even paid Microsoft a hefty £5.5 million to extend their Windows XP support as a stopgap – money that, had they prepared in time, could instead have been put towards migrating away from XP.
The lesson here is clear: some users might think that it’s better to stay with redundant software and risk it, but in the long run, this costs businesses more than they stand to save.
This is without even considering the risks of GDPR compliance; once Windows 7 support goes dark, this will cause legal compliance issues, particularly when it comes to sensitive data or financial records.
It’s time to unshackle yourself from Windows 7
You still have time to act before support ends. Now is the perfect time to plan your escape from Windows 7.
In fact, many organisations are viewing this as an opportunity to upgrade their mission-critical software. For some, this will mean moving over to Windows 10; however, where possible, organisations should also look to replace this software with a more permanent solution.
Cloud-based software offers a fantastic modern alternative. Suppliers take full responsibility for updating cloud-based software, so there’s no need to stay on top of updates; it should always be secure, regardless of your operating system.
When it comes to financial and administrative cloud-based software, you won’t find a better solution than PS CLOUD. Migration is easy, and your data is secured by double-layer authentication and daily backups. What’s more, you also gain access to PS Financials’ comprehensive financial software.
Interested in joining the thousands of organisations looking to move their business-critical financial services to the cloud? Visit the PS CLOUD site to learn more about our exciting offering, or get in touch to start unshackling yourself from Windows 7 today.