We all knew that the (sometimes!) glorious reign of Windows 7 and 8 operating systems (OSs) would eventually need to come to an end, and I’m largely sad to say that the time to finally say goodbye is almost upon us. The unfortunate realisation that 7 and 8 will very soon be no more was spurred on by Microsoft’s end of life announcement earlier this year. This revealed that Windows 7 is officially due to receive the final nail in the coffin when its extended support ends on the 14th January 2020, with its slightly younger cousin Windows 8 also condemned to meet its maker on the 10th January 2023. While this gives both OSs a relatively reasonable remaining shelf-life, that doesn’t mean that their decline into old age will be particularly graceful.
Once end of support comes into effect for 7 and 8 over the next few years, they will no longer receive any patches or upgrades, meaning they’ll quickly fall behind their more modern successor, Windows 10. But this denial of exciting new features isn’t the only thing users of 7 and 8 will be missing out on – there are much more serious ramifications that accompany any loyalty to the outdated OSs.
We’ve all heard the horror stories that resulted from the WannaCry ransomware attack on the NHS back in May 2017 – a terrible event that shocked the UK into becoming more proactive with updating our IT systems. This cyberattack was in large part a result of exploited vulnerabilities in the unprotected, unpatched Windows XP operating systems of NHS hospitals, and has since become a case study in why it’s so important to ensure your IT is always up to date. With Windows 7 and 8 approaching end of life, security vulnerabilities will inevitably begin to surface and will need to be dealt with sooner rather than later. The longer an upgrade to Windows 10 is delayed, the more doorways are opened to the hackers and cybercriminals hoping to get at your valuable business data.
Of course, we understand that there’s a number of justified reasons why many organisations will choose to stick with Windows 7 and 8 for as long as possible, even after end of life arrives. Sometimes it’s just not commercially viable to make the switch over to a newer OS, and IT teams may be restricted by budgets that do not have the flex to accommodate such a big change. Likewise, one of the most common challenges blocking the path to Windows 10 is app dependency. Critical apps like ERP or CRM may be incompatible with Windows 10, and your business cannot do without them. A lot of time and resource also needs to be dedicated to user adoption and training when a new OS like Windows 10 is introduced, meaning cost and lost productivity.
That said, faithfully sticking by Windows 7 and 8 may be more trouble than it’s worth, if only due to the increasing likelihood of a data breach. As well as this, the sheer expense of needing to invest in future software to ensure apps are backwards compatible with your legacy systems may actually work out to be far less cost-effective than migrating to Windows 10. And while there’s no doubt Microsoft will introduce new and improved Windows versions following on from 10, there’s no time like the present to make the switch and make sure you’re getting the most from your OS.
Windows 10 allows users a lot more freedom than that afforded by its aging predecessors, with frequent anniversary updates that grant access to the latest and greatest new features as they become available, complementary security services and patches that keep you on top of any emerging threats, and faster, better performance overall. The best part is, with Windows 10 you’ve got a long road ahead of you until you need to begin worrying about end of life, and who knows what could happen between now and then? In fact, thanks to the growing popularity of ‘as a Service’ within enterprise IT, Windows 10 can now be implemented as a consumption-based model, meaning you could potentially pay-as-you-go for the service, helping budgets go that little bit further.
Loathe as we are to say it, both Windows 7 and 8’s numbers are almost up. But this doesn’t need to mean the end of an era so much as signifying the road to a brighter future. That’s why we do everything we can to help make your migration to Windows 10 as easy and as seamless as possible. We have in-depth conversations with you about exactly what you need from your OS, assess your current situation, and review your business’ future roadmaps to establish the right approach for you. We’ll then craft a solution around what you want to achieve, what your users expect from their Windows 10 experience, and any legacy apps you need to consider. This makes the transition forward much more enjoyable and less onerous, and soon you’ll be wondering why you didn’t switch to Windows 10 sooner.