The end is nigh: Windows 7 end of life is looming

As the countdown to January 2020 continues, the end of life for Windows 7 draws ever closer.  Support for Microsoft’s desktop software will end in January, but what does this mean and how will this affect you? 

The deadline to upgrade your systems to Windows 10 is 14th January 2020That may seem a way off, but with less than 6 months to go for planning, purchasing and addressing the issue, immediate action is required. Currently, computers running Windows 7 are not being manufactured or sold, but support and more importantly, security updates, cease in January 2020. Having unsupported PCs is a huge risk to the security of your business network – you only have to look at the Wannacry attack on the NHS in 2017 to see the consequential implications of not updating. The attack is estimated to have cost the NHS close to £100 million in disruptionswhich could have been prevented if they had been using a supported operating system correctly patched. 

For some organisations, especially those in the public or financial sectors, using the latest software is a regulatory requirement. If you choose not to upgrade, your systems will no longer have security protection and will beout of compliance for all major security compliance requirements (MA Data Security Law, HIPAA). Up-to-date patching is a requirement for all these regulations; as Windows 7 will no longer be receiving security updates, you will be non-compliant and could face huge fines. 

Incorrectly secured systems could lead to a data breach risking the wrath of the ICO under GDPR regulations, and the penalties can very severe – up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover. The status of your compliance may also impact the number of organisations that want to do business with you, as the use of outdated systems makes it more likely that their data will be breached, and will affect their trust of your business and its tarnished brand image. 

Upgrading to Windows 10 has numerous considerable benefits and additional features. As you are progressing from one version to the next, the upgrade path is relatively straight forward and non-intrusive. The first benefit is speed. Of all the benefits of Windows 10, none is more immediate than an improvement in operating speed. Windows 10 streamlines the overall start up experience by cutting down on bloatware and unnecessary start up processes. The result is a refreshingly fast overall user experience. 

Secondly, Windows 10 brings significant improvements in functionality and usability. It harnesses the true power of the Microsoft Cloud working hand in hand with Office365 and its associated services. With improved file-sync functionality and better integration with OneDrive & SharePoint, Windows 10 is a powerful desktop to be reckoned with. The software also brings back the popular Windows start button combined with the Windows start tile, giving users the control and simplicity of a start button along with the live updates and graphic displays of the Windows 8 start tile. In addition to this, the touch screen functionality has also been improved.  

The increased inbuilt security is by far the biggest benefit of Windows 10. Windows 10 inherits the Secure Boot feature from Windows 8 and makes it even more secure. This requires any code that runs when the OS starts is authorised by Microsoft or the hardware maker. Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 PCs can be set up so that this feature may not be bypassed. 

 

The process of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is quick and easy and can be done without affecting your files or programs. Since Windows 10’s interface is largely based on Windows 7’s, the layout of the two operating systems is fairly similar, so it should be easy to adjust. As long as your computers meet the minimum requirements, you will be able to upgrade without purchasing new hardware. 

Though the effort involved in upgrading from Windows 7 is not large, the consequences of not doing so are. The deadline to change is looming, and the longer you wait the greater the chance that you will not be fully protected come the 14th of January. The sooner you upgrade, the sooner you’ll be protected, and you can start taking advantage of the benefits that Windows 10 can offer your business.  

It’s extremely important to be aware of this deadline and start the planning process now. Of course, if you would like a helping hand you only have to ask. 

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