2019 went fast didn’t it? And while the technology changes have been nonstop and numerous over the past year, there are some that come with hard deadlines. That’s because Microsoft is ending security updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in January of 2020.
What does this mean for Windows 7 and Windows Server users?
When Windows 7 made its debut in the fall of 2009, it was released under an older support policy than current Windows versions. The end date for extended support—January 14th 2020—is fast approaching. The same day Windows Server reaches its end.
When Microsoft completes its release of the latest security updates, these products will continue running. The bad news? Running these programs without the latest security can leave your organization open to a terrifying myriad of security vulnerabilities. Including ransomware attacks that cost organizations more than $8 billion last year with attacks increasing by 12%. Downtime resulting from ransomware costs most businesses upwards of $64,000.
So, let’s face it, if you’re on Windows 7 or Windows Server, then keeping the status quo isn’t an option. Doing so would ultimately make your organization an easy target for a cyberattack—no one wants that .
Don’t panic, you have options. If your organization is running on Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008, there’s still time to prepare.
Here are a few potential strategies:
1. If you aren’t ready for any major changes…
You can purchase extended security updates that Microsoft is offering through February of 2023. This is a short-term solution, but could be the perfect fit if you’re business is still building out your cloud or digital transformation strategy.
So, if your business has a mission-critical application that can’t run on Windows 10, these extended-security updates can keep you moving. The security updates are priced annually by user or device. The costs add up to more than half of the original annual licensing fee, but if you’re in a holding pattern it’s a temporary working solution that keeps you protected.
2. You’re ready for the cloud.
Maybe you’ve been getting ready to pull the trigger on a cloud-first strategy? If you’re been marinating on moving to a public or hybrid cloud environment for a while, then you’re in luck. Moving to Azure instantly provides any 2008 R2 server security updates through February of 2023 without any additional costs. And your public cloud costs can be relatively predictable.
3. You’re up for an upgrade.
Moving from Windows 7 to Windows 10 can fuel a fast return for your organization without too many complications. That is, unless you’re upgrading from 2008 R2 servers. That’s because there isn’t a direct path to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016.
If your organization is looking to upgrade from Windows Server 2008, you’ll need to move forward in stages—think baby steps. First upgrading to Windows 2012—keeping in mind that some legacy hardware doesn’t play well or at all with more current operating systems. Changing an operating system can be complicated.
Whichever option your organization is leaning towards, you’ll want it implemented by Quarter 1 of 2020, which is just around the corner.