windows-logoUsing Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 after January 14, 2020 puts your systems at risk of vulnerabilities and cyberattacks. When over 200,000 computers were infected by WannaCry in 2017, it was the result of a Windows vulnerability. If a WannaCry-type attack occurs that affects Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, your Windows 7 installations will only have had access to the patch if you are paying for Extended Security Updates. 1

One in three breaches is due to unpatched vulnerabilities. For an organization, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million — the average cost for each lost or stolen record is $148. This makes data breaches worse for most businesses than floods, fire, and transit strikes combined. 2 Data breaches end businesses.

Why Adoption Is Slow

Many businesses do not have the IT infrastructure in place to implement migration to Windows 10. In a January 2019 survey by Kollective (a content delivery provider), two-thirds of US and UK businesses have not developed a strategy to migrate to Windows 10. 3

One of the main worries for businesses is that with Microsoft’s Windows 10 SaaS (Software as a Service) model, IT managers must deal with operating system updates much more frequently. For years the Windows model had been a mass migration every few years. This is still a possibility for Enterprise subscribers of Windows Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC), but Microsoft discourages its adoption. 4 The SaaS model means more testing, more roll-outs, and more chances for systems to be out-of-date which opens up more points of exposure.

Windows 10 Is Secure and Consistent Across Devices

Windows 10 is more secure than any Microsoft desktop OS before it. Security enhancements include biometrics (facial scan, iris scan or fingerprint to log into a device), advanced threat protection, malware protection, and trusted hardware. The Secure Boot, introduced in Windows 8 was upgraded in Windows 10: Secure Boot now requires that any software that starts along with the operating system be signed off by Microsoft and the hardware manufacturer; users cannot bypass this boot-up certification.

Windows 10 has the same core on all devices (PCs, tablets, laptops, phones) which makes it familiar and therefore easier to learn and use. It also has the familiar and popular Start button — missing from Windows 8. Windows 10 added a touchscreen mode to help certain users work more quickly and efficiently than a mouse or touchpad allows.

What About Running Older Applications?

Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the only real option for businesses long term. But to keep some machines on Windows 7 after January 14, the best option is Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) which can be run in a Cloud environment. However before deployment, WVD needs to be tested with your legacy applications. It is recommended that you work with your internal IT team, or IT partner to verify that everything will be compatible.

Alternatively your organization can pay for ESU, starting at $25/device/year, doubling in price each year until January 2023, at which point ESU will end. So this is only a stop-gap and costly option.

Migrate from Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, 2016 or 2019. An IT partner like Bryley can help you choose the solution that keeps the functionality your organization requires while getting the security benefits of a modern OS.

If possible, take your migration in stages — don’t try to migrate every machine at once. But don’t put your business at risk by staying with unsupported Windows OS versions. Bryley helps businesses create plans to keep up-to-date with software updates and patches, so organization’s systems run efficiently for the coming years. Bryley’s professionals have a deep knowledge of business software and can guide your organization’s Windows 10 transition. Reach Bryley at 978.562.6077 Option 2.

1 Your Windows 7 systems can remain protected till January 2023 if you pay Microsoft for Windows Extended Security Updates. Enterprise customers with active Windows E5, Microsoft 365 E5 and Government E5 subscriptions can get free security updates through 2020, per “Microsoft End of Support FAQ”.

2 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon

3 One-Year Countdown Begins on the ‘Death’ of Windows 7,

4 On the basis that fewer updates equates to not running the best version of the OS.