The Windows 7 operating system (OS) will no longer receive updates or security fixes from Microsoft after January 14, 2020. This means that businesses that will continue to use Windows 7 will leave their systems wide open to cyberattacks.

Technology is always evolving and end of life (EOL) is a natural part of a product’s life cycle. Microsoft only committed 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was launched in October 2009. The company then introduced Windows 10 in July 2015 in preparation for the former’s demise.

Businesses that have patronized this soon-to-be-obsolete OS will naturally feel apprehensive about the change and some will continue to use the outdated OS to stave off spending on a new one. This is a bad move because it puts your company at risk of the liabilities that come with EOL.

1. Compromised security

Important security patches are no longer available after EOL. Security patches are designed to update, fix, or improve products and OS, improving performance, reliability, and security. These are regularly scheduled and sent to all users of a particular system so without it, the software is vulnerable to hackers or malware.

To illustrate the value of security patches, let’s take a look at Equifax. The personal data of 143 million users were exposed because attackers entered their system in mid-May 2017 through a web application liability that had a patch available in March.

2. Higher operating costs

If you think your company will be able to save money by stretching the life of your outdated software, think again. When a bug enters your system, operations can grind to a halt as you look for a technician who can fix it. You might also need to hire a third-party consultant and support teams to help you with more complex issues. And in the event of a breach, the cost of cleanup, legal fees, and reputation damage control can upend your company.

EOL hardware will also be harder to find, so replacement parts or accessories will be more expensive, if available at all. The free upgrade to Windows 10 ended in January 2018, but shelling out for the new OS is still a more financially sound decision.

3. Noncompliance

Organizations that deal with a lot of sensitive customer data adhere to a set of security standards. For example, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) governs all companies that accept, store, process, and transmit cardholder data. PCI security standards state that companies should “maintain a vulnerability management program to which there must be regular updates for anti-virus software and programs and develop and maintain secure systems and applications.” Noncompliance with these standards means that you are putting your customers’ privacy and your company at risk.

4. Incompatibility

EOL operating systems may not be compatible with new software purchases. They will also be unable to adapt to the changing needs of data centers. This will compromise your data and diminish productivity.

Innovation breeds new technology — this is a constant cycle. Don’t get stuck on Windows 7 just because it is familiar and still works for your company. Upgrade and keep your systems working smoothly and properly and your company will reap the benefits.

Don’t dread EOL, act now!

Windows 7 EOL is fast approaching. Plan and budget your Windows 10 upgrade with Midwest Data Center. Let our team of experts handle all of your technical requirements so that you can transition to the new OS and take advantage of it as quickly as possible. Learn more about this and more by calling us now.