The end of 2019 marks another momentous ending—when Microsoft will finish releasing security updates for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Here’s what this means for users and how to deal with this change.
What Does This Mean for Users
Windows 7 was first released in October 2009 under an older support policy, meaning that the end date for extended support is January 14, 2020. Windows Server also happens to reach its end date the same day. When Microsoft finishes releasing security updates, the products will keep working, but you are now exposed to a host of security vulnerabilities.
What Are My Options?
Whenever Microsoft has stopped supporting an operating system, there have generally been four options:
- Do Nothing – This might be the riskiest thing you could do. Businesses with outdated and unsupported software are easy targets for cybercriminals.
- Upgrade – We’ll talk more about this option below.
- Pay for extended security updates – If you’re absolutely unable to upgrade, Microsoft is offering extended security updates, but at a steep price. This is available until February 2023, but you have to pay 75% of the product’s original licensing fee each year.
- Move to Azure – This is Microsoft’s cloud services platform, which will give any 2008 R2 server security updates until February 2023 at no additional cost.
Prepare for the Migration
Since there are high security risks and financial costs to stay with these systems, consider embracing the inevitable and migrating to the latest software if you plan to stick with Microsoft. While the migration path from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is cost-effective and relatively painless, the upgrade path for 2008 R2 servers is more complicated.
Because there is no direct pathway to upgrade from Windows Server 2008 to Windows Server 2016, an organization would need to upgrade to Windows 2012 first, and even then, some of the older hardware might not actually be compatible with these newer operating systems. A change in operating systems is not a business decision that should be left until the last minute. At the very least, aim to have your systems switched by the first quarter of 2020.
If the thought of migrating your business’ servers and software overwhelms you, visit us online to take a look at our wide array of security services.