The beginning of autumn may seem to be an odd time to think about New Year’s Resolutions. But plan now for January 2020 if your company has any computers running Windows 7—and remember that includes remote staff, trustworthy (usually) contractors who have network access, and even devices relegated to mailroom duty, running the shipping software. Microsoft will officially stop supporting the venerable operating system on January 14, 2020, and that means no more service, including patch updates. The result: Any computers on your network that still use Windows 7 will become a target for hackers looking for a weak point in your defenses.
“Patches and bug fixes are a key aspect of any operating system,” says Scott True, COO of Axis Computer Networks. “The usable life of any software is limited by technology developments that streamline how things work behind the scenes. But the utility is really cut short if updates are ignored.” Because the Axis team knows how to head off problems and also the best way to upgrade, they’ll be able to help you keep your business running.
Here’s what you need to know. First of all, the computers won’t stop running just because the operating system is no longer supported. That’s actually bad in the grand scheme, since you want these devices out of your network and cloud servers, where their weakened security may be exploited by nefarious players. But it’s good because you’re reading this now. The first step is to get your team on the same page. They need to back up their critical data and photos (something you hope they’ve been doing right along).
While your upgrade may take time, communicate to your staff that they should keep Windows 7 up to date until they are upgraded with a new operating system (or potentially, a new computer). In the past Microsoft has offered substantial patches and upgrades in the wind-down leading up to the end of life (as the end of support is often known). These final updates will be key if the budget doesn’t allow everyone to get their upgrades until Q2 2020. But best to try to upgrade as much of the system as possible now.
If you think an upgrade to Windows 10 is your next step, here are the minimum specifications required for those machines: a processor of 1GHz process or faster, 1 GB of RAM for a 32-bit installation and 2 GB of RAM for a 64-bit installation, and up to 20 GB of hard disk space may also be needed. The machine needs a screen with a resolution of 800 by 600 or higher, a DirectX 9 graphics chip, and Internet access.
Full disclosure: Microsoft is offering to continue offering security updates for Windows 7 Professional and Enterprise versions until January 2023, but there has not yet been any indication about the price of that service.
“Upgrading a system can be relatively inexpensive insurance, compared to a security breach and the headaches that come from data loss,” True says. “We want to help get it done for you, long before the deadline. And remember, Axis will never try to hold your IT hostage with long-term contracts.”
Reach out to Axis to find out what an upgrade can mean for your business.