Older versions of your favorite Microsoft software will no longer receive security updates in 2020, leaving you vulnerable to hackers. Joe Apps Technology Support strives to ensure your business is protected at all times. In this blog we share what software is impacted and what to do about it.

Are you worried about the looming end of life deadline for your Microsoft products? The company is ending support for several popular business tools in 2020, including Windows 7. It’s a hassle, but this change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Here’s what’s happening and how to take advantage of this opportunity to future proof your computers.

Goodbye Windows 7

For many businesses, it’s a tough parting. As late as September 2018, approximately 41% of Windows 7 users still hadn’t moved on to the latest operating system. Sticking with existing systems until 2020 or beyond could lead to a truly bitter end.

And Windows 7, which could be the operating system on your laptops and desktops, isn’t the only one on Microsoft’s list. Are you relying on 2010 Word and Excel? Running Windows Server 2008/R2 or Small Business Server 2011? Does Exchange 2010 control your email and calendars? All of them are reaching the end of support in 2020. That’s a big deal.

Understanding End of Life Issues

What does end of life mean for your business? When you first buy a product, Microsoft provides mainstream support such as:

  • Offering security patches

  • Releasing design changes or new features

  • Providing complimentary support

  • Warranty claims

In 2020, they’ll also stop the security upgrades that provide patches and bug fixes for the tools you’re using. In June 2018, Microsoft even announced but didn’t fix an OS bug. They also stopped answering Windows 7 Community forums.

Thinking you haven’t been doing updates, so this won’t make much difference for you? Try again. The updates were probably taking place without you knowing through Microsoft auto-updates. That’s not going to happen anymore.

What This Means for Business and What a Cyber Attack Might Look Like

You will keep working to improve processes, sell products, and increase revenues. Meanwhile, hackers will work just as hard to find weak points they can attack.

Once inside your network or systems, these cyber-criminals may use malicious software (malware) to take over your business computers. They don’t return control until you pay a ransom. Or, they might take important data for use in identity theft.

Maybe they’ll want to mess with your IT infrastructure and shut you down. With the boom in crypto-currencies, some bad actors want to leverage your computers’ processing power. You’d eventually notice your computers running slower and skyrocketing utility bills.

It’s Not Worth the Risk

Cybersecurity attacks are costly. Take 2017’s WannaCry attack infecting more than 230,000 computers in 150 countries. The perpetrators demanded $300 ransom per computer. The average data breach costs a company $3.86 million, according to the Ponemon Institute. And the average denial of service attack costs a company $2.5 million.

Beyond these hefty price tags, a cyber attack can also put your business at risk of:

  • Compliance issues

  • Massive fines

  • Costly downtime

  • Brand reputation damage

  • Customers jumping to a competitor

Looking long-term and being proactive, upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft products such as Windows 10 and switching to cloud-based Office 365 is the best option.

Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until 2020

Why is it a good idea to begin migration sooner rather than later? Here are our top four reasons.

  1. Risk. Data breaches and other cyber threats are costly.

  2. Difficulty. Migrating isn’t always easy. Depending on your IT infrastructure, it could take a lot of work.

  3. Availability. Don’t scramble to find partners to support your migration efforts.

  4. Flexibility. By upgrading now, you gain the ability to pick a good time for your business to change over its systems.

Migrating data to a new system, securely and efficiently, takes work and know-how. A Managed Service Provider can tackle the upgrade for you.

Give us a call at 1-866-563-2771 to schedule a site assessment. Together, we can ensure your business is protected.