Whenever new versions of Windows become available, users often remain suspect about whether to upgrade or not. This reaction is rational, as Microsoft has released some questionable versions in the past. In cases where newer versions presented significant problems to private users and enterprises alike, Microsoft needed to extend support for legacy users. For instance, with Windows XP, support lasted for over 12 years.
With Windows 7’s wide adoption, Microsoft similarly extended the support cycle for almost 10 years. While Windows 10’s popularity continues to rise, Microsoft has decided to end all support for Windows 7 in January of 2020. This may irk users, but there is a logical reason for making this decision.
Why Microsoft is Ending Windows 7 Support?
There are different types of support that Microsoft provides, and Windows 7’s mainstream support already ended in 2014. Mainstream support relates to adding new features and capabilities, as well as distributing Service Packs for newly identified bugs and issues. End of Life support, however, continues after mainstream support, primarily focusing on patching security exploits. This distinction is important as it means companies and private users can continue using the version of Windows after mainstream support ends, but not after Microsoft suspends End of Life support.
With End of Life support, they’ll no longer be providing new security patches for Windows 7. Although PCs running Windows 7 will continue to work, the software may now pose a risk to the company’s information security systems. Microsoft already released four security updates in September 2019, indicating that they regularly find new vulnerabilities in the older version. After the End of Life support ends, they will no longer provide any security patches free of charge.
What Should Companies Do Now?
If a company doesn’t want to upgrade to Windows 10, Microsoft will provide Extended Security Updates (ESUs), but this will be a paid service with the cost increasing every year after 2020. The cost of the ESU will also depend on how many devices the company uses, influencing the total cost of the license agreement. A better option would be to start planning for an upgrade as soon as possible. If the company is uncertain about how to go about planning the rollout, engaging with a Microsoft Certified Professional can alleviate many of their concerns. Upgrading to Windows 10 may require additional investment from the company, but the risks of using an unsecured OS easily outweighs the issues in relation to new license costs.
Why Using a Supported Operating Systems is Essential?
The amount of cyberattacks continues to increase every year and the latest exploits present a massive risk to any size company. With ransomware currently the number one threat for small businesses, keeping ahead of the latest threats requires expert knowledge and persistent investigation. If an organization chooses to delay an upgrade, every day that they lapse increases the risk of becoming a victim from cybercriminals.
Additionally, support includes new features, integrations, and improved performance. Windows 10 already proved to be popular with most enterprises and Microsoft provides a comprehensive set of resources for companies to plan their upgrade. The resources include application compatibility, small business checklists, and deployment tools.
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