Like it or not, January 2020 is here. This means end-of-support for Windows 7, Server 2008, and Server 2008 R2. Hopefully, this information is not a surprise to you or your organization. However, as of three months ago, roughly 20% of active computers were still using one of the operating systems slated for end-of-life in January. This means statistically, 1 in 5 people reading this article need to take action!
What exactly does end-of-support mean? It means that Microsoft will not release any more security patches for those operating systems, leaving you at risk. This also means that most software vendors will stop supporting those operating systems, likely meaning you won’t be able to use newer programs. Finally, if you run into technical issues, Microsoft will not offer help.
What Should You Do?
What do you need to do to make sure end-of-support does not affect you? There are a few simple steps you should follow.
- Figure out how many servers and workstations are on old versions of Windows- counting how many affected systems you have will go a long way in making a plan to update things.
- Verify installed programs. Unfortunately, some programs will only run on old versions of Windows. While these programs are becoming more and more rare, it’s important you know what will or will not work.
- Make a plan for your workstations. You have limited options for workstations still on older versions of Windows. Simply put, you should upgrade to Windows 10 or retire your older systems.
- Make a plan for your servers. After verifying you have good backups, check to see if upgrading the operating system will work, or if it is better to create a new server and retire the old. You also have the option to migrate your servers to Microsoft Azure to extend support for a while longer. While migrating to Azure may buy you some time, I still recommend updating to a current operating system.
- This system absolutely cannot be upgraded; what should I do? Minimize your risk by separating the system as much as possible from your network and the internet.
- If the system doesn’t need network or internet access, unplug it!
- If it only needs access to get files from 1 place, put it in a separate VLAN, and setup firewall rules to only allow it to access that 1 place.
- Block access to anything and everything the system does not absolutely need
Maintaining your technology is an ongoing investment in your business. This means you should plan on keeping it up to date as time goes on! If you need help planning and budgeting for technology upgrades with Windows 7 end-of-support, Sikich can help! Please contact us at any time.