It’s always been true that it’s risky to run software that the software company no longer supports. Why? Because it means there are no more critical updates that protect both the software and your computer.
Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 back in January 2020, and yet 22% of PC users are still using Windows 7. Note: there is a premium option for Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 7 that stretches Microsoft’s official support by up to three years — this blog refers to the majority of Windows 7 PCs without ESU.
Running an unsupported operating system is problematic for many reasons. Chief among them: relying on an operating system that is not receiving regular software updates from its parent software company makes the network using the software more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In addition, just because an operating system reaches its end-of-life does not make the vulnerabilities disappear. Vulnerabilities left without patches or updates to resolve particular issues in place provide cyber attackers time to figure out vulnerabilities and gain access with targeted attacks that take advantage of those vulnerabilities.
What does it mean to use an operating system that has been declared end-of-life? One expert compares it to driving a car with the brake light on–while the problem may seem “small,” the risk of disaster is great. Your entire system is at risk of a breach.
The formal recommendation is that all companies and users on Windows 7 update their operating systems to Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 10. There is some good news here: 72% of PC users are already using Windows 10, which is encouraging. Plus, less than 1% are running the even older Windows versions called XP or Windows Vista. Remember, the older the software, the more vulnerabilities. Experts even consider incentivizing employees to update their operating systems, if possible. Switching your business and personal use PCs to Windows 10 as soon as possible is vital to your network security.
I’m a PK Tech client: what does this mean for me?
If you are a current client of PK Tech, rest assured that we reached out and discussed the importance of running supported operating systems and created a plan with you. We did a few ESU extensions to add support for clients that wanted to squeeze one final year out of their assets, but overall, we replaced numerous PCs and performed in-place upgrades before the Windows 7 end-of-life date. A benefit of working with our team is that we are testing updates and becoming familiar with new operating systems. The importance of performing regular software updates is deeply intertwined with the overall security posture of your network. If you’re ever unsure about a particular update, ask!
I’m not a PK Tech client, and I’m still operating on Windows 7. Can you help me update my operating system?
Yes, we’re always happy to help or provide advice for your business! If you’re interested in working with PK Tech for IT security for your business, get in touch with us here.