Windows 7 and Server 2008 are set to go “end-of-life” (EOL) on January 14, 2020. While that sounds ominous, it’s not the apocalypse—especially if you’ve kept up with regular network maintenance.
End-of-life, in this case, simply means that as of a particular date, Windows will stop offering customer service, software updates, and patches for a particular product or operating system.
Well, hold on there. While Windows 7 will still technically functional as of that January 2020 date, it won’t be safe. Any new vulnerability found in either operating system after January 2020 will make anyone using these systems low-hanging fruit for hackers, as there will no longer be a fix available. If you include these changes in your technology plan now, you’ll be giving yourself the proper lead-time to implement the technology, determine a strategy for addressing incompatibility issues, train your staff, avoid potential service disruptions, and adjust for Murphy’s Law.
Planning for this transition will require an investment of time and resources, to be sure, but consider this: Can you afford to be hacked? If your business includes the maintenance of customer records, can you afford to fall out of compliance with regulatory agencies by entrusting sensitive data to a less-than-secure system? That kind of lapse can result in fines, bad publicity, and an even more expensive clean-up, as once patches are not available, the resulting security breaches become even more costly.
Put it this way: transitioning too late in the game is essentially putting a target on your back, leaving yourself prone to bugs, security vulnerabilities, and higher unplanned expenses down the road.
It is true that while planning ahead for Windows 7 EOL is key, there are ways you can keep your network safe, healthy, and running at optimal performance levels until you transition your OS. An organization could reduce its attack surface by over 80 percent, for example, just by regularly patching their systems!
Introducing strategy and discipline into your technology planning and accounting for the different types of maintenance (patching, updating and upgrading) is critical to properly maintaining your IT infrastructure.
We know it can seem daunting, so here’s a quick primer on all the little tweaks and updates (and an explanation of some of the terminology) that can keep your network running smoothly while you start to plan for the Windows 7 and Server 2008 EOL.
You’re not in this alone. Erb’s Technology Solutions can assist you in planning and creating a schedule to transition out of Windows 7 and Server 2008 and conduct a review of your regular IT maintenance program. Contact us today to get started.