With just days before Microsoft retires two of its most popular operating systems, the quarter of computer users worldwide are at the risk of losing support on January 14, 2020. Therefore, we wanted to take this opportunity to explore the ramifications of an end of support event, and what you can do in response.
If you are currently still using Windows 7, it isn’t as though you won’t be able to use your computer after the January 14. Rather, you will no longer be able to do so securely. The device in question would no longer be receiving the kind of updates and support necessary to protect it from developing threats, and its functionality could degrade as a result. You could also potentially put the safety of your network at risk, if such a device is attached to it.
Granted, there are ways that you might still be able to use devices running out-of-support software (like Windows 7) after the official date passes - especially if you need a particular solution to continue a certain business function. You could simply isolate the machines running the susceptible software from the rest of your network, but you still run the risk of these systems being taken offline through some unpatched vulnerability.
Your best option is to have a plan in place to retire these solutions and continue your operations in some other way.
How You Might Do That
There are several options you might consider:
Bite the Bullet and Upgrade to Windows 10
Honestly, this is probably your simplest route to take. Windows 7 and Windows 10 have similar operating requirements. In fact, Windows 10 relies on surprisingly little to function:
- Processor - 1 GHZ or faster
- RAM - 1 GB for 32-bit or 2 GB for 64-bit
- Hard disk space - 16 GB for 32-bit or 20 GB for 64-bit
- Graphics card - DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
- Display - 800 x 600 resolution
Take note - we said function, not perform. A computer with these specs running Windows 10 simply isn’t going to be very fast, so it makes sense to do more than we’ve listed here. Try using a 2 GHz dual-core processor, installing between 4 and 8 GBs of RAM, and upping the hard drive to 160 GB.
Replace Your Hardware
To be honest, while this is your easiest option, it is effectively guaranteed to be the most expensive as well… but with so little time left, it may be your best option to keep yourself secure. New hardware will come with Windows 10 installed and will receive regular updates - the only downside is it may take some time to configure.
Many businesses are considering the tasks that their employees are responsible for and opting to provide them with Chromebooks rather than Windows workstations. While the cost-effectiveness of this approach can’t be argued, there are other issues to consider. Any line-of-business application would need to be virtualized, and Internet access is a prerequisite to using a Chromebook. While this may be a budget-friendly option on the surface, these hidden costs could cause a rise in your overhead.
Use a Thin Client Via Virtualization
In some ways similar to using the Chromebook option, you could simply repurpose your old hardware to host virtualized thin clients to accomplish what needs to be done. Of course, with the looming deadline, this may also be a challenge to pull off.
However, Microsoft will still offer the option to use a service called Microsoft 365, which combines Windows 10, Office 365, and a terabyte of OneDrive storage along with the security solutions to protect it all. This cloud-based option is great for teams who largely rely on productivity software and is available on a per-user basis.
Whatever your choice may be, you need to resolve your organization’s Windows 7 problem. To discuss your options in more depth with experienced professionals, reach out to Business Solutions Group. We’ll come up with a strategy that works for you. Give us a call at 866.546.1004.