In January, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7, a part of the Windows NT family originally released in 2009. Although Microsoft gave plenty of advance notice, one expert estimates that more than 20% of Windows installations will still be running Windows 7 at the end of the year.
Is your business one of them? If you don’t have an IT support specialist for your Ann Arbor business, your company could be vulnerable to cyber-attack.
What does an unsupported OS mean for your business?
While your computers running Windows 7 may still work, there are two critical reasons why keeping Windows 7 may not be a wise idea for your business:
1. No more Microsoft security updates for Windows 7. Because Microsoft is no longer working to update Windows 7, your outdated workstations no longer receive updates from Microsoft – and that includes no more security fixes meant to keep out cyber criminals.
2. No more Microsoft technical support for Windows 7. No more technical support means you have limited options should an issue arise.
Don’t let the fact that your Windows 7 workstations are still working lull you into a false sense of security. While an outdated OS might seem like a non-issue to you, look at it from a hacker’s perspective. To cyber criminals, an unprotected system looks like a great opportunity! If a regularly updated and supported operating system is a moving target for hackers; that makes an unsupported OS a sitting duck.
Historically, cyber criminals have taken advantage of outdated operating systems and their networks. The longer Windows 7 remains in use while unsupported, the greater the chances that someone will discover a vulnerability and exploit it for criminal reasons. In fact, the potential for abuse is serious enough that the FBI recently sent an alert to private industry partners encouraging them to upgrade to Windows 10 to avoid security issues with Windows 7.
The cost of waiting
Many companies have avoided an OS update, citing reasons like compatibility issues, simple procrastination, or lack of an IT support specialist onsite. Or maybe they just don’t realize the potential seriousness of doing business on a vulnerable network.
Keeping your software and systems up to date doesn’t only keep your apps running smoothly, it builds a layer of protection against cyber-attacks. Criminals don’t stop looking for ways into your network, but regular updates help keep you a step ahead of them.
At best, running an unsupported OS can lead to bugs or issues with compatibility. At worst, it can leave you open to an attack costing you dollars and hours better spent growing your business.
If nothing else, consider the cost of restoring lost data, recovering from a network-wide ransomware attack, and the loss of business and productivity while dealing with the fallout from a cyber-attack. Last, but not least, think about the loss of your clients’ confidence and trust in your business if their data is impacted.
You’re at risk – now what?
If you still use Windows 7 you can take steps today to protect your company from attack:
- Make sure your firewall, spam filters, and anti-virus definitions are up-to-date and configured correctly.
- Isolate any Windows 7 computers from the network.
- Upgrade to Windows 10 and keep your systems updated.
- Better yet, call NSG for a network audit. Our IT support specialists can get your Ann Arbor area network updated for you and will ensure you have protection in place to keep hackers and viruses out.
Our goal is to keep your critical data safe and your computer systems running optimally. Contact us today and sleep better tonight knowing we’ve got your back.