As we soon approach 2019 it should be on everyone’s mind that Microsoft will be ending its support of PC’s running on Windows 7 and network infrastructure running on Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 in January 14, 2020. A year might seem a long way away from now, however, be advised that waiting to address this until the last minute can leave your business in an unnecessary scramble.Windows Icon End of Life 2020

What does this mean? Keep in Mind Window 7 and Sever 2008 were developed a decade ago so the technology behind them is old. There are plenty of reasons why you’ll want to address the impending retirements before the end of 2019, mostly due to the potential risks of running a business on unsupported system platforms. Here are just a few reasons:

  • Once the end of life goes into effect newly discovered vulnerabilities will not be resolved.
  • This increases the odds that your network will be susceptible to malware attacks and viruses.
  • Coders with nefarious intentions will be encouraged to find breaches in Windows 7 and Server 2008 at a much higher tick knowing they will go unnoticed.
  • Unsupported workstations and networks = Easy Prey.
  • Business and customer data is at risk.
  • As time passes, obsolescence sets in creating compatibility issues with mission critical software (ERP). Each time your software gets updated it becomes more incompatible with your unsupported operating systems, which can create all sorts of issues including loss of functionality and data corruption.
  • Once Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 fall out of support, third party applications will fall in line and no longer support those versions as there is no incentive to support legacy systems.
  • Browsers such as Google Chrome will no longer automatically update on Windows.
  • If your business operates under guidelines such as DCAA, HIPAA, etc. You will be out of compliance.
  • Running Windows 7 and Server 2008 means your business is operating on old hardware increasing the likelihood of unplanned outages.
  • Old hardware and unsupported operating systems is a recipe for costly disaster recovery efforts and loss of time and revenue.

How can you prepare?

You can start by consulting with your internal IT department or your outsourced IT provider. If you have neither seek out a reputable business technology consulting firm for advice.  Establish a project scope and budget for Windows 7 desktop and Windows Sever 2008 or 2008 R2 infrastructure replacement for 2019. Dedicate time to thoroughly evaluate the new technologies that are available in order to make an informed decision. This may include making the determination to maintain your network infrastructure on premise, move your entire workload to the cloud—e.g., Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform--, or choose a hybrid approach that may include both on premise and cloud options applied to both business applications and infrastructure. For example, Exchange versus Office 365 or G Suite.