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Windows 7 End of Life: What Your Business Needs to Know

SEAN KESSLER AND JEFF LOMBARDI | April 29, 2019

 

Windows 7 End of Life: What Your Business Needs to Know

By Sean Kessler and Jeff Lombardi | April 29, 2019

Is your company still using Windows 7? If so, it’s time to upgrade – or time to make sure your IT staff has a solid plan and an aggressive timeline. Microsoft is ending extended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. That doesn’t mean your computer will stop working the next day, but it does mean hackers and criminals can easily exploit vulnerabilities in your operating system. And security isn’t the only reason to upgrade to Windows 10.

The Top Three Reasons to Upgrade Now

  1. Cost: If you have technical issues with Windows 7 after the retirement date, Microsoft won’t automatically open a support case to resolve it. You can purchase extended support at a significant cost, but only if you’re a volume license customer. And the cost of purchasing a three-year extended support package will be more than purchasing Windows 10.

Why spend more to prop up an old system when you can invest in enhanced technology at a lower cost? Bottom line, the deadline is approaching rapidly. If you haven’t budgeted for this yet, the time is now.

  1. Security Exploits: Official support for Windows 7 ended in January 2015. But Microsoft has continued to offer extended support, including free bug fixes and security patches. That all comes to an end in 2020. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 7 after January 14, so free security updates will be a thing of the past and the risk of exploits will skyrocket.

This presents a major security risk that no person or organization can ignore, since data breaches can threaten the viability of small to medium-sized businesses. Upgrading is particularly critical for healthcare practices that handle confidential patient data, which is highly lucrative to cyberattackers.

  1. Timing: The best upgrades are carefully planned and executed well in advance of any deadline. A realistic plan includes time to prepare users and identify issues before they have a chance to impact operations. And the larger your organization, the more time you need to upgrade all your machines. Start now to ensure that your organization is up-to-date and in compliance with applicable cybersecurity regulations and best practices.

Navigating Upgrade Options

Operating system upgrades can be challenging. There is natural resistance to change, especially when things are working fine the way they are. Issues with past upgrades, including downtime and staff frustration, can also make people wary to change. And uncertaintly about which upgrade option to pursue can be daunting.

Basically, there are three paths to consider for your Windows 7 upgrade:

  • Upgrade to Windows 10. This can be an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 and is generally straightforward. One important consideration would be the compatibility of other programs installed on the computer. There may be an incompatibility between those programs and Windows 10, which is important to identify before doing the upgrade.
  • Install Windows 10 from scratch. This would mean backing up all data, wiping everything from the hard disk, installing Windows 10 and re-installing all the backup data. This method would be relatively labor intensive and would require a fair amount of technical knowledge.
  • Purchase new hardware that already has Windows 10 installed. You would still need to load your data on the new hardware, but this option is usually the easiest way to go. You would still need to check for compatibility with your legacy programs.

If you’re not sure which path is right for you, our IT support services team can help. We take a proactive approach to keep customers on top of the latest technology and security solutions. And we’ve led successful Windows 10 rollouts for customers of all sizes, in multiple industries including healthcare.

Smooth Healthcare Upgrades

One example is Abilene Eye Center (AEC). Our IT support services team ensures that AEC is always running at peak levels by providing day-to-day support for its entire technology infrastructure, including upgrades. We started working with AEC on its Windows 7 upgrade plan last year, partnering with the clinic on every aspect from initial budgeting to phased implementation, and all the way through to training staff on new features and changes. “We worked with a local IT person before, but he wasn’t always able to help us, even with basic things like upgrades,” the AEC Practice Manager noted. “There’s always someone at ITelagen who knows how to do what we need to get done.”

At ITelagen, we want to help customers get the most of out their technology infrastructure. And we’ve been helping our customers upgrade different systems for years. Contact us today to see how we can help you smoothly navigate the Windows 7 upgrade process, protect your data and improve the efficiency of your business.


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