The day has come, the day has passed. If you’re still using Windows 7, you might not see any changes. But in case you’ve ignored (or disabled) all the warnings leading up to January 14, 2020, here’s another reminder—support for Windows 7 and Office 2010 has ended. But what does this mean? What are your options?
Can You Keep Using Windows 7?
Well, you can keep using it. Should you? Probably not. If you’re reading this on a Windows 7 computer, you’re connected to the internet. Time has passed since the final update, and for hackers, cybercriminals, and other ne’er-do-wells, that means they’ve had time to discover exploits that would otherwise be patched.
Worse, exploits have already been discovered and it’s only a matter of time before hackers put them in action. Here are just a couple of vulnerabilities that have popped up since Update Tuesday:
- January 17: A vulnerability in IE could allow an attacker to gain full administrative access through a remote code execution. There is currently a workaround, but no patch is currently provided by Microsoft.
- January 20: Attackers were able to exploit a vulnerability called EternalBlue in a Windows 7-ran network and were in turn able to hide a cryptominer inside WAV files.
Every Day’s a Zero-Day
The number of vulnerabilities is only expected to grow, and for many companies, this could spell disaster. With every vulnerability perpetually considered a zero-day vulnerability, the dangers start to ramp up for users—something we discussed in an earlier blog:
“Exploits, malware, and viruses often have an extremely limited shelf life. A virus is released and affects its audience. OS developers patch their product to prevent it from working. This usually happens in less than a month—often in less than a week or two.
For Windows 7, security patches are currently available. However, when this all ends in January, the patches end, and its only a matter of time before cybercriminals find an opening.”
At the time that was published, there were about 38% of consumers and small businesses, and 47% of SMB and Enterprise users still on Windows 7. Five months later, the numbers have dropped as many have made the move. However, that still leaves an estimated 200 million computers at risk.
What Are Your Options?
So, if your organization is among those still using Windows 7, you do have options and should balance the risk, cost, and benefits of each one.
High Risk: Keep Chugging along with Windows 7
The easiest—yet worst of the options, at least from a security perspective, is to cover your ears, ignore the full-screen warning that appears every time you start-up your computer, and keep moving along.
Band-Aid: Extended Security Updates for SMBs and Enterprises
If you really want to keep using Windows 7, you can—but it will cost you. Announced in October, enterprises and small businesses have access to Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESUs), allowing for three more years of security updates. These ESUs are available for purchase from qualified Cloud Solution Provider partners and can be purchased for each device still running these products. However, these ESUs don’t come cheap: The price of support starts at $50 per user and year and double every following year. Consequently, the businesses will have to pay $100 and then, $200 in the upcoming years.
While welcome news for some, the costs add up. A company with 50 Windows 7 Computers will be paying $10,000 by 2022 and by 2023 will no longer receive support of any kind.
The Safe Bet: Update or Upgrade
Understandably, the recommended option is to update as soon as possible—though this presents one caveat: You’re might have to upgrade hardware.
The good news as you plan your shift to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus, is just about any application written in the last 10 years will run on Windows 10, and any COM add-ins and VBA macros your organization used on versions of Office dating back to Office 2010, will continue to work on the latest versions of Office, without modification.
Microsoft has made available a compatibility scan that tells you whether your device is ready. Paired with Desktop Analytics, IT pros can easily take inventory of devices and keep all products on the same page. Learn more about the process to make an upgrade here.
Windows 10 for Enterprises and Small Businesses
Affordable, advanced, and available, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is built to help users be more productive while giving IT employees more control. Windows 10 Enterprise addresses the needs of large and midsize organizations—providing IT professionals with comprehensive device and app management.
With E3 and E5 options available to customers, Gartner found that the potential total value of the Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5 benefits significantly exceeds its cost. Among the other benefits:
- The Most Advanced Windows Yet: Empower your business with the most secure Windows ever that’s always up to date with the latest protection, productivity, and advanced IT tools.
- Comprehensive Security: Have complete security including Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection with powerful analytics, cross-platform integration, and centralized detection and prevention management.
- Low-Cost, Easy Deployment: Windows 10 has been around for more than half a decade, and is both stable and supported. 99 percent of all Windows 7 and Office 2010 apps are compatible with Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus.
- IT Control: Customize features and apps, manage and secure devices remotely, and deliver virtual desktops on Azure.
At MIBAR, we can help you make the upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, offering a variety of upgrade packages tailored to your business. Get worry free Windows 7 upgrades and support from the experts at MIBAR. Click here to learn more.