In less than 90 days, this date will be upon us. In the Microsoft Windows ecosystem, this is the date that the Windows 7 operating system, along with some other older Microsoft Operating systems and Applications go “End-of-Life.”
The standard lifecycle for Microsoft Products is roughly 10 years. With the first 5 years being mainstream support and the final 5 years being extended support. Once extended support has ended, Microsoft will no longer provide any support, updates, or fixes after this date.
You are probably asking yourself, “What does this mean?” In a simple explanation, Microsoft throughout the lifecycle of its products puts out new security and feature updates to improve and secure their products. Once this date in January has arrived, Microsoft will no longer provide any support, updates, or security patches for any of the below products:
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2
Windows 7 Professional for Embedded Systems
Let me explain what has happened in the past during these end-of-life events, and why you need to take action to remove them from your business and personal environments.
What Happens During End-of-Life Events
What we saw when Windows XP went end-of-life were large malware campaigns that threat actors had targeted these machines specifically. They targeted these machines as quickly as the next day after support ended, and they did this quite successfully.
Threat actors and black hat hackers like to find and exploit vulnerabilities in code and software. Threat actors call these viruses and malware “Zero Days” as they are unknown to the wild, and have been hidden since their private discovery to protect those vulnerabilities until Microsoft stops supporting and updating these systems.
These are the worst kind of threats, as these will NEVER BE PATCHED to make your system secure. Its pretty safe to say that after a system is “end-of-life” it can never be considered secure again. It also becomes a gateway for threat actors into your network environment to wreck production and financial havoc, that will probably not be found until its too late.
How are you removing these obsolete systems from your environment? Do you have a full product lifecycle plan from pre-sales through decommissioning of IT equipment? Contact the Sikich team to start the conversation on how we can strategically partner with your organization to maximize ROI on planning and decommissioning equipment throughout the organization.