With Windows 7 and Server 2008 End-Of-Life coming around next January, we are urging all of our business clients and home computer customers to start planning early for server and workstation upgrades and replacements. In fact, we have already started the workstation replacement process for many of them. But, what exactly does "End Of Life" for an operating system mean? Well, the simple answer is that continuing to use Windows 7 after January 14, 2020 could potentially present a serious security risk to your computer, your data and all of your online activities .
When a software product is "retired" - also known as reaching End Of Life - by a vendor, that means several very important things, such as:
- There will be no more improvements or developments made for that version of the software
- There will be no more security patches released for it, which makes it vulnerable to viruses and hackers
- If an operating system reaches end of life and you continue to use it, it will result in an automatic violation for HIPAA, PCI and NIST compliance
- Other programs you run on a computer with a retired operating system will no longer be supported by their vendors (Quickbooks, Microsoft Office, Dentrix, HotDocs, etc.)
This short article from Microsoft sums up the situation pretty well, and answers some of the most common questions: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4057281/windows-7-support-will-end-on-january-14-2020
This article explains compliance regulations regarding retired operating systems: https://www.dmatechsolutions.com/2019/02/14/ending-support-windows-7-server-2008-hipaa-compliance/
Most HIPAA violations are brought to light only after an actual data breach, and by then it’s too late, of course. We have been fortunate in that we have never had any of our clients experience an actual data breach, which would be damaging to our reputation and devastating for a business in a small community like Charlottesville. Our job is to help make sure that never happens. Fortunately, a server migration does not have to be crazy-expensive, if it is planned out well and approached in a calm and orderly manner, and most Windows 7 systems purchased within the past 5 years can be upgraded to Windows 10, so you don't necessarily have to replace all of your Windows 7 computers with new ones.
We anticipate that by the 4th quarter of 2019 there will be a mad rush for Windows 7 and Server 2008 replacements and migrations, which is exactly what we experienced when Windows XP was retired back in 2014, and a year later when Server 2003 reached end of life. This will be the first time that we can recall ever seeing a desktop operating system (Windows 7) retiring on the same day that a server OS (Server 2008) is retiring; Microsoft has always tried to give us at least a one year break between those two events. This time around we expect to see a fairly heavy demand for our services when 2019 comes to a close and 2020 begins, especially for clients that want their server replacements to happen over a weekend.
And, to make things even more exciting, Exchange Server 2010 is also retiring on the same day, so many companies that have been running their own e-mail servers will also need to either migrate to a newer version of Microsoft Exchange, or migrate their company mailboxes to a cloud-hosted solution, such as Microsoft Office 365-hosted e-mail.
We are here to answer any questions that you may have.
Finally, a quick reminder that today is the last day to vote in the 2019 Daily Progress Readers' Choice Awards!
Click here for the link to the 2019 Readers Choice website, or click here to go right to the Merchant category, where you can vote for PJ Networks as your favorite local computer repair shop, if you think that we deserve to win that honor for the fifth year in a row: https://dailyprogress.secondstreetapp.com/2019-Readers-Choice/gallery/?group=306419
As always, let's be careful out there.
-The PJ Networks team