Microsoft will be ending support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 on January 14, 2020. This means no more security patching and no more support from Microsoft. Windows 7 will go the way of Windows XP.
This planned obsolescence of these operating systems can be viewed negatively as Microsoft’s way of forcing us all to Windows 10, or we can look at it positively that Microsoft has given us all ample time to prepare, plan and budget for this eventuality. The transition can be smooth if your business takes the time to plan and prepare. Those that wait until the last minute will be scrambling to upgrade or worse yet, do not complete the upgrades and find themselves the victim of a data security breach because of an unpatched vulnerability on a Windows 7 computer.
The good news is that Microsoft has precedent of patching egregious security flaws on expired operating systems on occasion. That is not something we can count on and we also need to be aware that in past cases the onus is on the user to know about, find and install the proper patches if Microsoft decides to release a patch for an expired operating system. With the state of cyber threats that are present today, this is not a scenario we would recommend for any business.
Can you upgrade to Windows 10 or do I need to buy new computers?
In most cases you can upgrade to Windows 10. Older hardware may not be compatible, so it does make sense to take an inventory of your desktop workstations and decide based on age, hardware and purpose if the computer should be replaced or upgraded.
For my Windows Server 2008 R2 server, can I upgrade, or do I need to buy a new server?
While there is a migration path to Server 2012, Colden Company Inc. recommends replacing server hardware. There are several reasons for this. The first being, if you are running Server 2008 R2, chances are the hardware is reaching end of life from whichever manufacturer it was purchased. Dell, as an example, provided seven years of hardware support for a server. A second reason for replacement is there is a new operating system than 2012 out there, 2016. If you are replacing you might choose the operating system that will give you a longer life cycle.
What else should I be concerned about when upgrading?
In short, applications. It is important to ensure that your important applications can and are supported on these newer operating systems. The good news is that Windows 10 and Server 2016 have been out in production for some time giving application providers plenty of time to adapt. Also give thought to what you want to do with your old computers if replacing them. Do the hard drives contain sensitive data and need to be wiped or destroyed?
In summary, your business should have a documented plan on how you are going to prepare for and budget for this event. I will refer to my often-used Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People here and remind our readers that effective people spend their time on important and perhaps non-urgent tasks like this. Ineffective people put off these important tasks in favor of more time sensitive yet less important tasks until the important task becomes an emergency. Put another way “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Contact us today so let us help your business put together a comprehensive migration plan and protect your business data from the retirement of Windows 7 and Window Server 2008 R2. Call us at 888-600-4560, email us, or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.