The new year is beginning with a big change that will affect a large portion of people and businesses that use PCs. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will end support for Windows 7. This means no more updates, no more patches, and no more security fixes. Microsoft will shift its focus to its newer operating systems such as Windows 10 and whatever comes next. Windows Server 2008 is also losing support on the same day.

If you’re a business and the majority of your computers are still running Windows 7, this is an important issue and something that requires immediate action. 

The platform released a decade ago in 2009 and has since become one of the most popular operating systems in the world, for both consumers and professionals. According to Net Marketshare, about 26 percent of computers still run Windows 7, as of November 2019.

The most alarming aspect of this news is that once support for Windows 7 ends, the OS will be more susceptible to security exploits as time passes without any updates. Without regular fixes and changes to the platform, malicious parties will be more likely to find security exploits in the software so they can do any number of illicit and damaging actions to computers that still run the OS.   

Businesses that must comply with certain regulatory compliances such as PCI, HIPAA or GDPR, run the risk of not passing an audit if they’re still running an unsupported operating system. Certain compliances will have a grace period for how long you can run an older operating system, but will eventually consider the running of Windows 7 as unacceptable.

The end of Windows 7 support is a big deal and affects all software that runs on the platform. You may think that no more Windows 7 updates and security fixes aren’t a big deal, especially since you’ve already got a robust anti-virus and network security application protecting your network. However, because the OS is no longer being supported, it’s only a matter of time before software developers also drop support for the Windows 7 versions of their applications. 

If you’re looking forward to the next version of your most used, essential software, there’s a strong possibility that it will not run on Windows 7. It’s common for software companies to only develop for platforms that are actively being supported.

What you should do…

It’s time for an upgrade. It may be a little expensive and time-consuming for your business, but without continued support, it’s far too risky to continue running Windows 7, especially if your business frequently uses the internet to get work done. It’s also important to have a plan for transitioning to a new operating system. Fortunately, you have a few options. 

Upgrade the OS: This is likely the cheaper and easier route. If your computers aren’t too old, they may be compatible with Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 10. This will not only cover you in terms of security but will give you access to all of the new features included in the OS such as improved performance and security. 

Buy new computers: The more expensive and complicated option, however, it may be the only one you have if the computers you need to upgrade aren’t compatible with Windows 10. If this is the case, you’ll need more up-to-date computers that are capable of running Windows 10. Doing this will involve the process of migrating your business’s essential files and software from the old computers to the new ones, which can be time-consuming. Despite the cost of the transition, you’ll still benefit from faster, more capable computers and a newer OS.

A compromise solution that you may entertain, is upgrading to Windows 8 instead of Windows 10. This OS is newer than Windows and still receiving support from Microsoft. It’s slightly cheaper to upgrade to and more likely to run on older machines. However, it’s important to be aware that Windows 8 is losing support after January 2023, just a short three years after Windows 7. Thus, this is more of a short-term band-aid, as opposed to a long-term solution. 

Upgrading software or buying new computers is always a costly initiative, but it’s something all businesses must eventually consider. 

For eFileCabinet Users

Here at eFileCabinet, we recommend you upgrade to Windows 10 if your PCs are running off an older operating system. Since Rubex is a SaaS-based platform, users won’t face any issues with it not working properly on Windows 7. However, both users of Rubex and eFileCabinet Desktop should be aware that the platforms are most optimized for Windows 10. 

eFileCabinet will continue supporting Desktop on Windows 7 machines so you’ll be able to continue running it, however as stated earlier, due to security issues it’s recommended you upgrade to remain compliant with regulatory standards that require you have an OS that receives regular security updates.

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