Innovative technology advances at the speed of light. You purchase a new smartphone only for it to become obsolete in a very short time. If it’s a personal smartphone, that has little negative impact – just an annoyance and an additional expense.

It can happen to the operating system your business relies upon as well. Typically, a life cycle lasts for quite a few years before you will be forced to make a change. This is happening to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. End of life (EOL) has an exact date: January 14, 2020. If your company uses either, you have only about six months to take proactive measures to protect your business, otherwise Windows 7 EOL will put your company at serious risk. 

Windows 7 EOL 

Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 this coming January. You have a mere six months to get prepared. Currently, Windows 7 is in a phase that Microsoft dubs “extended support.” On January 14, 2020, that extended support terminates, and Microsoft provides no further security updates.

What is Windows 7 EOL?

Products have a useful life cycle. Once a new product is released into the marketplace, the old one moves quickly towards end of life. If you choose to continue using Windows 7 after the EOL date, it will work. However, you open your system to risk because hackers know that security updates are gone. Those updates repair vulnerabilities exploited by hackers. Your system will be an easy target to malware and viruses.

Windows Server 2008 EOL

Microsoft is also closing the door to Windows Server 2008. You must decide if you should replace just the operating system or replace the server. If the server is four years old or older, replacing the server is a better solution and the best return on investment. You must act quickly to protect your data and business. Your IT provider can offer more insight.

Windows 7 EOL: 7 Scenarios

The average life of any workstation is typically three to five years. This is why mainstream support ends after five years, and Microsoft moves to extended support with only security updates.

As of February 2019, a mere six months ago, approximately 87 percent of all computers worldwide run on Windows. Of those, 43.9 percent still run Windows 7. 

If you fail to upgrade, especially if you have multiple workstations, you will be among a large group of businesses that open themselves to hacking, malware, and viruses. Hackers know the date, and they are waiting to blow open the systems of laggers.

These are your seven scenarios with Windows EOL:

  1. Upgrade the desktop operating systems on every workstation.If your business has stayed abreast of new technology and hardware for everything else, then you should be able to accommodate an OS upgrade to Windows 10.
  2. Upgrade the operating system and upgrade the memory. An older workstation may have limited memory to accommodate an OS upgrade or future software and hardware demands. If this is the case, you can upgrade both.
  3. Upgrade the operating system, upgrade the memory, and replace the hard drive. A hard drive has the most mechanical parts in its operations, so wear and tear are inevitable. If your workstations are not too old, you can install a new hard drive when completing the other two mentioned updates.
  4. Upgrade the operating system and replace the hard drive.If your system has adequate memory, you can skip upgrading the memory.
  5. Completely replace the workstation.You may need a new computer. You will need to conduct a comprehensive assessment and perform a risk/reward analysis. A new computer system is expensive; however, this may be the best option to protect your business.
  6. Replace the network server. You may need to do this if your current network cannot support the upgraded operating system. 
  7. Upgrade the server operating system. If you have a relatively new server, just updating the operating system might be an option. Similar to #6, but a different area.

If you have been updating to newer equipment, but stayed with Windows 7, you will have an easier time adjusting for the upcoming Windows 7 EOL. The opposite is also true. If your equipment is old and outdated, you may need to make a significant capital investment to stay current and protected. This also applies to your server considerations.

Server Warranties

It is also time to consider server warranties. Nearly every manufacturer offers commercial warranties to repair or replace defective products and offer technical support for a specified period of time. With the average lifecycle of a server being three to five years, a warranty can extend this average to five to seven years.  However, as with many warranties, if you have had repairs completed or parts replaced by non-approved technicians and products, you may have invalidated the warranty. You will need to check into this.

It is absolutely crucial to call your IT provider now if your business has Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008. They should have contacted you. But if not, don’t wait. Call them immediately to make plans for upgrading your system. Due to the high demand for these updates, don’t wait until the last minute. You’ll need to prepare now to have ample time to implement these changes.

You must upgrade. You have no other options. You can use Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 after January 14, 2020, but the reality is that doing so is not a viable choice. Microsoft recommends upgrading your expiring Windows operating systems in order to continue to receive the support and ongoing necessary updates. End of life is only six months away. Write it into the budget and contact your IT provider today.

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