There are still lots of computers running Windows 7, and the FBI is urgently advising businesses to upgrade. Microsoft ended Mainstream Support for Windows 7 in 2014. Since then, Windows 7 has received important updates to fix bugs and patch security issues, but no upgrades or improvements to its basic functionality. Once the popular operating system reaches its End of Life (EOL) on January 14th, 2020 — the final stage in the Microsoft software lifecycle — all Windows 7 support from Microsoft will cease.
This has very important security ramifications for businesses who are still running Windows 7. Many security research firms, like the Ponemon Institute and Kasperky Labs, have shown that the Internet is becoming an increasingly hostile place for SMBs, where 76% of businesses have experienced a cyberattack in the last 12 months. In this environment, running an operating system that’s even weeks out of date can present an increased security risk, let alone one that’s completely unsupported. The WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware attacks that damaged hundreds of thousands of computers are great examples of this danger, as both attacks were able to spread quickly because of unsupported operating systems.
Security risks aren’t the only issue you face by continuing to run unsupported Windows 7. Because new software and hardware are both designed to run with the latest version of an operating system, companies that run an unsupported operating system may notice compatibility issues as they try using the latest technologies. These incompatibilities, although not always immediately noticeable, can cause crashes, data loss, and other productivity-harming errors. The larger your network infrastructure, the greater the effect an out-of-date operating system can have on security and productivity, as the time required to identify and fix problems throughout your entire organization increases significantly.
For businesses of every size, it’s time to start the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10, Microsoft’s most current operating system. Some businesses may find this transition difficult, so we’ve assembled a few tips to help make the process as smooth as possible.
Windows 10 migration can be tricky, as there’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach that businesses can apply uniformly to achieve a good result. Some devices may be eligible for an “in-place” migration that preserves user data, while others may require a more complete “wipe-and-load” approach, in which technicians back up user data to an external destination and then install the new operating system onto a blank hard drive. Many organizations will want to employ a mix of strategies to address the needs of each device and complete the upgrade as quickly as possible. Here are some other tips:
Many businesses, especially larger ones or those with well-staffed IT departments, may find they don’t need help with their migration from Windows 7. However, for smaller businesses that lack in-house IT talent, or businesses that have IT staff who can’t tackle the unwieldy Windows migration process with confidence, there are many benefits to hiring an external partner to help with your migration from Windows 7 to 10.
A Windows expert can help you plan and execute a migration strategy that proactively addresses the unique characteristics of your network infrastructure and bring the upgrade to a successful conclusion on time and under budget. This is especially true when upgrading mission-critical systems, or in migration scenarios that require specialized knowledge, such as in regulated industries. A poorly executed migration in those scenarios can result in serious network downtime, heightened cybersecurity risk, and lost revenue.
To avoid these problems, consider hiring a veteran technology services firm like Complete Network to help you manage your Windows 10 migration. We can ensure the upgrade process causes as little disruption as possible. With decades of experience helping SMBs manage their technology needs, including operating system migrations, we’ve earned an unbeatable reputation for providing highly-reliable, high-value technology solutions to businesses in the Albany and Charlotte areas.
If you’d like help planning and managing any aspect of your migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10, please contact us with any at [email protected], we’re always happy to help businesses operate with greater confidence and security!
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