What should businesses do to make sure they're covered?
In less than a week, on Tuesday 14th January 2020, Microsoft will end extended support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Beyond this point, it will no longer issue security updates for any of these operating systems, having already stopped introducing new features when mainstream support ended.
Under certain conditions, businesses may be able to extend support for longer, under the Extended Security Updates (ESU) scheme. However, that is only available under certain licences and, with the exception of virtual machines hosted in Microsoft Azure, these updates come with a fee attached.
You can find out the exact costs of ESU from Microsoft or from a Microsoft partner, such as TMB, but in most cases we wouldn’t recommend taking this route, unless you absolutely must. For a start, the updates will only come for a maximum of three years, so ESU is only putting off the inevitable. At some point, businesses will have to move on to a more up-to-date operating system, whether they like it or not. For endpoints, that means upgrading to Windows 10. For servers, the 2012, 2016 and 2019 versions of Windows Server are all still supported (2012 is in its extended support phase).
As well the security advantages of upgrading, newer versions of Windows offer more up-to-date user experiences and additional features. If you know you’re going to have to upgrade anyway, it seems unwise to miss out on these benefits by clinging on to your old software - and, of course, paying for the privilege.
What if you want to continue using Windows 7 or Server 2008 without security updates? It’s possible, of course, but the risk should be abundantly clear. If your operating system is no longer being patched, then security holes will remain as they are, and hackers will be quick to exploit them. Aside from the direct losses you could suffer from suffer from such attacks (from, say, theft or ransomware), you’ll bear the financial burden of clearing up the mess afterwards, as well as potentially facing legal action for breaching General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules.
By now, most responsible businesses will have made arrangements for their Windows licensing, whether that’s by extending security updates or upgrading to a newer version of Windows. If, however, you have yet to do so, we cannot stress enough how important it is to get something sorted out.
In most cases, upgrading is the best option. However, this is also a good time for businesses to consider moving their IT solutions into the cloud. Instead of migrating to another on-premise system, it may be beneficial to move everything to Microsoft Azure. For others, a hybrid set-up might work best and offer optimal value.
If you’re in any doubt about what your business needs to do to get upgraded, contact TMB for an obligation-free chat about your requirements. Simply call 0333 900 9050 or hit the contact button below.