While the world celebrated the New Year, Microsoft enjoyed their own major milestone as Windows 10 was finally declared more popular than Windows 7. Previous iterations of the Windows operating system couldn’t sway many Windows 7 corporate holdouts (Windows 8 and Windows Vista, for example), but for several years Windows 10 has demonstrated the stability and performance necessary to support business users.
More than half of enterprise machines run Windows 10 today. However, many others still use Windows 7. Experts consider these active machines a security risk—not to mention their poor performance due to aging hardware. Now Microsoft is forcing everyone’s hand. Exactly one year from today, Windows 7 joins other aged operating systems in “end of life,” placing any machines still running it on a deadline.
If a single Windows 7 machine is attached to your network after January 14, 2020, it becomes the weakest link and an open door for cyber criminals to compromise the rest of your machines.
What Does This Mean for Your Computer and Your Business?
Windows 7 reaches end of life on January 14, 2020. After this date, Microsoft will no longer develop countermeasures or fixes to address new breaches, exploits, viruses, and attacks, leaving Windows 7 computers vulnerable. Some businesses may require a machine to stay on Windows 7 to run legacy software, but these machines should not be connected to the network as they will be a high-value target, giving hackers easy access to an otherwise secure network.
The compromised security of each machine, your network, and the data it contains is the most powerful reason to upgrade. Criminals become more skilled every day at finding vulnerabilities and ways inside your network, and the value of business-essential or confidential data continues to rise. Your business has probably already encountered some form of cyber security risk – and will again. In fact 61% of small and medium businesses were attacked in 2018.
For businesses that are Covered Entities or Business Associates under HIPAA, this cannot be ignored. Starting January 14, 2020, no Windows 7 computer will be considered HIPAA compliant. The ability to patch known security issues is required by the Security Rule to avoid reasonably anticipated threats to ePHI. Failure to do so could lead to serious liability if a breach occurs.
This deadline is an opportunity. Consider it a countdown to more efficient work spaces, more secure transactions, and features that integrate seamlessly with the Cloud and mobile devices. Speed, usability, and security all see major upgrades in Windows 10—upgrades that can make a huge difference for your business.
Want to begin the process of upgrading to Windows 10? Contact Anderson Technologies at 314.394.3001 to speak to one of our IT experts about the best plan forward.