It’s officially the new year and Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 End of Life (EOL) is here! What does this mean for your business? If your devices are running either of these Windows operating systems (OS), they are no longer receiving security patches or updates as of January 14th, 2020.
Without security patches or updates, your devices will be significantly more vulnerable to cyber threats. Therefore, it is important for businesses to have the latest operating systems installed on their devices to ensure that they are receiving updates and security patches.
With the end of support for Windows 7 OS, your computer will no longer receive security patches or updates from Microsoft* and Internet Explorer will no longer be supported, leaving your business open to security threats. Additionally, users and your IT provider will no longer be able to receive technical support from Microsoft if they experience any issues.
*Since some major business applications are not compatible with Windows 10 OS yet, Microsoft is offering an extended support license, for Windows 7 Enterprise E3 and Professional OS. This will end up being quite expensive as the price per license increases each year for three years. We will discuss this in more detail below.
What should your business do?
The best way to find out next steps about upgrading your company’s Windows 7 computers is to consult with your IT provider. They will provide insight on what your existing devices are running for applications that may or may not function via Windows 10 OS.
If your IT provider recommends an upgrade to Windows 10 OS, you should purchase the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 License which is a user-based subscription. This license can be purchased as a month to month or annual subscription and transfers from user to user. That way if an employee leaves, you can transfer the new hire onto that same device.
If you don’t have an IT provider, we can research the age of your hardware to assess the ROI of replacing vs. upgrading to obtain Windows 10 OS. We would also determine what your existing devices are running for Microsoft Office hardware as Microsoft Office 2010 is going EOL in October. Contact us now to set up a consultation!
If you plan on upgrading your existing device, make sure its hardware specifications are compatible with Windows 10 and that it has a valid warranty. Check all your applications and make sure that they are compatible with Windows 10 too. If not, contact the app vendors and see if you can find out when their application will be compatible with Windows 10. It’s also important to note that upgrade times can vary. The age of the computer and how it’s configured are contributing factors to this.
Consider the cost of upgrading your older computer vs. replacing it
If you didn’t want to replace your older computer, you would be spending the initial Windows 10 Enterprise E3 License cost of $84 ($7 per month per user), would need to pay for an extended warranty on the computer on top of the labor cost to get it rebuilt for Windows 10. In all, depending on labor costs you could pay approximately $500 or more to upgrade an old computer. With this being said you would still risk computer failure within the next year or two due to age, wear and tear, and running more advanced software on older hardware.
Long term, spending around $800 to replace your old device with a new device that comes with Windows 10 already will be a better return on investment for your business. Also, your business probably has more than one Windows 7 computer, so it’s important to recognize the cost of multiple upgrades.
*What if your business applications aren’t compatible with Windows 10 yet?
For these special cases, Microsoft has released a license to purchase extended support for Windows 7 computers for the next 3 years. In 2023, Windows 7 will officially not be supported by Microsoft. Even if you can’t upgrade right away, your business still should have an upgrade plan in place for when the time comes.
If all your apps are supported by Windows 10 and you just don’t want to upgrade your software yet, consider the cost of the extended support. This license will cost $50 per device annually and will double the second and third years. By 2022 you will be paying $200 per each Windows 7 device.
Also, if you decide to keep running unsecure Windows 7 and then buy the extended support in 2021 for the first time, Microsoft will charge you the 2020 yearly cost PLUS the 2021 cost: totaling $150 yearly per device. It might be more cost effective for your business to upgrade to Windows 10 right off. If your organization has 20 computers that need upgrading, keeping them on Windows 7 will cost $1,000 just for the year 2020.
Windows Server 2008 R2
As of January 14th, 2020, Windows Server 2008 R2 will no longer have extended support from Microsoft. This leaves your systems and network infrastructure in jeopardy. If a server running Windows Server 2008 R2 is active on your network past the EOL date, security patches and updates for defense against cyber threats won’t be available.
In addition, as of the EOL date, Server 2008 R2 systems will no longer be compliant with any regulatory compliance such as HIPPA, PCI, CJIS, GDPR, etc. If your server is five years or older it is recommended to replace your hardware. You should also replace your license when replacing the hardware and maintain a valid warranty.
How to make sure your business remains compliant
Modernizing your server technology will ensure that your business stays compliant. You can either upgrade or replace your physical server, or rehost your server on the cloud through Microsoft Azure.
Physical Server Upgrade
If your servers must stay on site, you need to follow a specific upgrade path to secure Windows Server 2016. First you need to upgrade to Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, then you can upgrade to Server 2016.
Migrating to Azure
Migrating your servers to Azure is the easier and recommended upgrade method if you do not need to have physical servers on site. “In Azure you’ll stay compliant, become more secure, [save on capital expense] and add cloud innovation to your work. The benefits of migrating to Azure include:
- Security updates in Azure.
- No-charge upgrades in Azure.
- Adopting more cloud services as you are ready.
- Leveraging existing SQL Server and Windows Server licenses for cloud savings unique to Azure.” -Microsoft
Have confidence in your IT providers recommendations because they are your trusted advisors when it comes to your technology and compliance needs.
If they discover that all your business applications can support Windows 10 and your hardware is fairly new, you should upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible. If not, your organization will be opening the door to hackers by running unsecure operating systems that connect to your organization’s entire network.
As for Windows Server 2008 R2, you must upgrade or replace your server depending on the age of your hardware. There is no extended support license for Server 2008 R2 as opposed to Windows 7. Rehosting your current server to Azure could be the most cost effective and efficient way to make sure your business stays compliant.