Your December IT Security Briefing

Your December IT Security Briefing

End of the Line for Windows 7 and Server 2008

There is less than 50 days of support left for Windows 7 and Server 2008. On 14th January 2020, Microsoft will finally end all support for the popular Windows 7 operating system, and the similarly-aged Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

In addition, some other widely-used software will also go out of support in 2020, including:

  • Microsoft Small Business Server 2011
  • Microsoft Exchange 2010 email server and
  • Microsoft Office 2010 including Word 2010, Excel 2010 and Outlook 2010. 

This means there will be no more Windows Updates, software patches, security fixes or technical assistance for these products.

Why is this important?

Unsupported versions of Windows will no longer receive software updates. These updates regularly include security fixes that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information and infect your devices. You will also lose the software updates that maintain the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware. If you have Windows 7 PCs or laptops, you need to upgrade them to Windows 10 before January 2020.

How can I tell if I have any of these versions?
If you recognise any of the below, you are using one of these versions:

Will I be able to use Windows 7 after support ends?

Even if you have an unsupported version, Windows will continue to work. You just won’t be able to receive software updates, security fixes or any support.

However, when Windows XP went out of support in 2014, it wasn’t long before cyber criminals began to exploit the final version of the platform which soon became a widespread problem.  Malware can spread much more easily on obsolete platforms because, without security updates, known vulnerabilities will remain unpatched. As a result, it’s crucial to move away from them as quickly as possible.

Are there any other issues?

Yes, there are other issues including:

  • No technical support from Microsoft – customers will no longer be able to contact Microsoft to receive support on Server 2008-related problems even in the event of a business-critical incident or major downtime.  Users may not be able to restore their system or recover any data or applications that are stored in the server. Many third-party IT support companies will be withdrawing support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 either immediately or from the next contract renewal.
  • Windows 7 is being left behind for new software releases. For example, you can’t install Office 2019 on Windows 7. It simply doesn’t work.
  • Compliance issues – organisations within some regulated industries are legally required to disclose their usage of outdated software.  There are reports that using Windows 7 and Server 2008 beyond January 2020 could lead to immediate failure of CyberEssentails and PCI (credit card payment) compliance. Many third-party applications will not support out of date software which can lead to a fail during compliance audits. We are also seeing reports that using Windows 7 beyond the end of life date will put you in breach of GDPR requirements.
  • Reduced third party support – other third party hardware and software vendors such as anti-virus, accounting programs and backup software are likely to stop supporting their products on this platform too.
  • More costly to run – the workloads and applications running on Server 2008 will become more expensive to manage and maintain.  Operational expenses will increase as additional security will be required to keep data safe. 
  • No benefits – the opportunity to take immediate advantage of new IT infrastructure and application developments, management tools and cloud options will be lost. 

What are the next steps? If you have any of the Windows products mentioned which are reaching the end of the line, please get in touch with your Account Manager to discuss the next steps.

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