Welcome to 2020! Several months ago, we told you about the impending end-of-life date for Microsoft’s popular Windows 7 operating system. That date is almost at hand. Windows 7 will reach its end of life on January 14, 2020. If you have not made plans to upgrade to Windows 10, your time is growing very short.
Other Products Reaching End of Life
Windows 7 isn’t the only Microsoft product reaching end of life on that date. Four server products are also reaching end of life on January 14. These products are:
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Server 2008 R2
- Exchange Server 2010
- Small Business Server (SBS) 2011
While these products will be reaching their end of life very soon, there is another end of support date on the horizon in 2020. Microsoft Office 2010 will reach its end of life on October 13, 2020.
Consequences of End of Life
End of life is a big deal, at least from a security standpoint. When software manufacturers announce end of life dates, the clock begins ticking for businesses using the software in question. Because end of life means no further security updates, businesses using outdated software can experience:
New threats from hackers
Hackers don’t care if you’re a multi-million-dollar corporation or a mom-and-pop storefront. Once a piece of software is no longer supported, hackers will try to exploit its lack of updated security wherever they find it.
Loss of hardware compatibility
Hardware and software improvements often happen in tandem. Newer hardware may have difficulty using older software, and this incompatibility can affect productivity.
Increased software-related issues
Obviously, once a software manufacturer ceases support for a product, problems that arise with the continued use of that product will not be corrected. The further away you get from the end-of-life date, the greater likelihood you’ll experience issues.
Updated software typically comes with new and/or improved features. As the rest of the world begins using the newest version, you’re likely to find your outdated software can’t keep up.
Is Your Business at Risk?
Using a piece of software no longer supported by the manufacturer is, at best, a risky proposition. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky estimates that nearly half of small and midsize businesses use software that is no longer supported. This news is alarming, given that in 2017 a major ransomware attack took down vulnerable, unsupported operating systems worldwide.
Bottom line: don’t ignore end of life dates. If you are using software that has reached its end of life, it’s only a matter of time before your business gets snared in a ransomware web. While you can still operate your business past the end of life date for any of these products, I would caution you to consider your options as soon as it is feasible. How you proceed will depend on your current IT environment.
Lieberman Technologies can assess your IT environment and help you to prepare for software end of life. If you’ve delayed upgrading, we can help you to research your options and develop a strategy to upgrade your software to the most current. Once your business is operating with up-to-date software, we can assist in preparing a lifecycle management strategy, so that you can plan for future upgrades well ahead of end of life dates. Contact us for more information!