Windows 7 End of Life. Is Your Medical or Dental Practice Ready For These Serious Security Risks? Keep IT Simple Has The Tools To Help!
The Windows 7 end of life date is soon approaching, and many organizations are analyzing, planning and implementing their Windows 10 migration. Although Windows 7 is considered the most popular Windows operating system, Microsoft will end Windows 7 support, including patches and security updates on January 14, 2020. As organizations scramble to make sense of their Windows 7 end of life strategy, many medical and dental administrators, system engineers, and IT architects still don’t understand all the technical and business nuances of migrating to Windows 10. As a result, we wrote this blog post to answer frequently asked Windows 7 end of life questions and help IT practitioners prepare for the challenges of migrating to Windows 10.
When is Windows 7 End of Life?
For those unfamiliar with the Microsoft support model, the company offers two support periods: mainstream support and extended support.
Windows 7 End of Life Support
- Mainstream Support ended January 13, 2015
- Extended Support ends January 14, 2020
Windows 7 End of Life Security
If you are one of the remaining Windows 7 loyalists, you should understand that using an unsupported operating system poses serious security risks. Hackers and other criminals in the cyber community will target Windows 7 machines as new vulnerabilities are discovered. Rather than continuing with Windows 7 after its end of life date, you should upgrade to the fully supported and patched Windows 10 operating system. Cybercriminals to this day target the unsupported XP machines that are still in existence.
The global malware outbreaks of WannaCry and NotPetya wreaked havoc on companies and organizations all over the world throughout the middle of 2017 by taking advantage of the well-known exploit called EternalBlue. This vulnerability was so severe that Microsoft released a patch even though extended support had reached its end of life years beforehand. Unfortunately, the patch required a manual update, and to this day, many unpatched XP machines run in a highly vulnerable state. In summary, non-supported operating systems like Windows XP or Windows 7 are vulnerable to exploits by dangerous cyber criminals.
Windows 7 Mainstream Support
The first type of support is called mainstream and typically lasts for five years. During this span, Microsoft provides regular feature updates, design changes, warranty claims, patching and security updates. Mainstream support for Windows 7 reached its end of life on January 13, 2015.
Windows 7 Extended Support
Since mainstream support ended, Windows 7 had been covered by a type called “extended support.” This level of support includes continued patching for bugs as well as security updates. Although there isn’t any functional innovation during an “extended support” period, the OS remains safe to use.
On January 14, 2020, Microsoft plans to terminate extended support for Windows 7. Once extended support expires, Windows 7 will no longer have any official support. All organizations will be forced to upgrade to Windows 10 or accept the risk of using an unsupported operating system.
Windows 7 End of Life Trends
It has been a heck of a ride for Windows 7. Even though mainstream support ended more than four years ago, many organizations still use it. As of January 2019, 37 percent of computers continue to use Windows 7 while 41 percent have moved on to Windows 10. In a 2018 survey, 43 percent of IT professionals said that their company is still running Windows 7 to some extent. That same survey found that 17 percent of businesses were not even aware that support was ending. Above all, there is a significant presence of Windows 7 out there in the world, and that poses a security threat for many organizations.
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