James Allison of EasylifeIT and IT, Digital & Tech Ambassador for IoD Norfolk updates on a looming security issue which is likely to affect thousands of UK businesses
Does your company use Windows 7? If so, 2019 is a critical year for you to update your systems. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start planning for the future. After 14th January 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing security or critical updates for PCs running Windows 7.
Although this is nearly a year away, businesses should be thinking about this now as it may involve a significant level of expenditure, particularly if they use the opportunity to invest in new PCs for their staff. Windows 7 was a very popular operating system; its successor – Windows 8 – was relatively unpopular and was not widely adopted. Many businesses carried on using Windows 7 longer than was anticipated as a result.
Microsoft’s most recent operating system – Windows 10 - has been around for about 3 years, has proved popular and has been widely adopted. However, businesses that have not upgraded their hardware for a while may find they are still using Windows 7.
This is significant because once Microsoft ends support, PCs will become more vulnerable to security risks. One of the single most important things businesses can do to protect themselves is to ensure their hardware is running operating systems which are fully supported and patched with the latest updates.
When the WannaCry ransomware attack struck in 2017, which affected over 200,000 computers worldwide and notably in the UK hit computers in the NHS, this was a result of exploiting systems using unsupported older versions of Windows, or unpatched more recent versions.
If you’re still using Windows 7, it’s time to start planning and budgeting.
Furthermore, if your business has a server running Windows Server 2008 or 2008R2, similar issue – support for this still widely used server operating system ends on 14th January 2020.
Written by James Allison