By January 14, 2020, Microsoft will finally pull the plug on its 10-year-old Windows 7 operating system (OS). This is when the OS will reach its “end of life,” or the date by which it will no longer be supported by the software company. Microsoft’s plan was always to develop better operating systems, so that’s why it introduced Windows 10 in 2015.
According to recent data by Netmarketshare, Windows 7 still has a 36.47% market share, despite having less than a few months of its life left. If you’re one of the businesses still using it, here are a few things you need to know:
#1. Exposure to cyberattacks
Once Windows 7 is deprecated, Microsoft will no longer provide any sort of update for the OS, such as security patches or hotfixes. Technical support will also become unavailable. This will leave the system vulnerable to cyberattacks like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, phishing scams, and malware, among others.
Let’s say you decided to continue using Windows 7 past its support date, and your systems suddenly got infected with ransomware. Given that the OS is already discontinued, you can no longer contact Microsoft and ask for help in recovering from the infection.
Also, security experts believe that after the support date, cybercriminals will unleash even more damaging malware that targets Windows 7 users. This is because the OS will be defenseless to cyberattacks, and cybercriminals will exploit its weakness to steal data from users and profit from them.
Benefit From a More Secure and Powerful OS
You and your employees use computers everyday, so don’t risk the continuity of your business from costly operating system downtime.
#2. Higher costs
Because support will be discontinued for Windows 7, you will need to hire third-party technical support teams to fix complex issues previously supported by the developer, which can be expensive.
You may opt into Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates (ESU) program as an alternative, but this will cost you $50 per device, and this price doubles in amount per year. In comparison, Windows 10 Pro may set you back $199.99 per lifetime license, but it is a more viable option as it entitles users to free feature and security updates.
#3. Software incompatibility
Developers stop creating software for obsolete operating systems. If you continue to use Windows 7 beyond its support date, you may find that some of your applications are telling you to upgrade to a more modern OS to use the program properly.
You can continue to use the software, but this might eventually lead to productivity disruptions. Some developers might even make their application unusable after some time. Your competitors will also be using more modern tech than your business, giving them a competitive edge.
#4. Compliance issues
Using Windows 7 beyond its support date can also have implications on your regulatory compliance. For instance, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requires companies that accept, store, process, and transmit cardholder data to have all their system components “protected from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches within one month of release.”
Because Windows 7 will no longer be provided with security patches past its support date, it will make your business noncompliant with the standard. This can result in costly fines, serious litigation, and extended downtime.
These issues might just be the tip of the iceberg if you continue using Windows 7. Allow Binatech to smoothly upgrade all your workstations to Windows 10 through our extensive experience in IT support for small businesses. Don’t get left behind. Call us today!