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The end of Windows 7 and recommendations to best protect your data

  • By SouthridgeTech
As you know Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 have now reached their end-of-life. This means after 12 years in production, Microsoft will no longer update or support the operating system. As of today NetMarketShare estimates Windows 7 is still about 26% of the market. So, if you have not upgraded yet you are not alone.
Since 2015, Windows 7 has been in an ‘extended support’ phase. During the extended support phase, the operating system has been patched and updated to make sure security issues and bugs are fixed. Now that Windows 7 enters its End of Life, this support will end. 
Windows will not stop working. So the good news is that you’re not going to wake up tomorrow to find your Windows 7 PC no longer boots up. However, Windows won’t be patched for any new viruses or security problems, and this leaves you extremely vulnerable to any emerging threats. If you need to meet compliancy regulations (doctors, financial service providers, attorneys, etc.), you will not be compliant. Whether you have a compliancy requirement or not, once Windows security updates end, it is more likely you will be a victim of an attack or a hacking attempt. So, while Windows will continue to work you should be making plans to upgrade to Windows 10, or possibly replacing systems that are older.
For PCs, upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10 does have some benefits. Most programs that are still supported will have been updated to work on Windows 10 as well. The layout and interface are similar to Windows 7, so you shouldn’t find it too hard to adjust.  Servers are unable to be upgraded in the same way leaving only limited options.

Organizations still running Windows 7 need to protect their data from security risks. Toward that end, here are several recommendations and thoughts on how to best safeguard your data.

  • Educate employees. Make sure your employees and users are following best practices for saving and storing data. Consider running a simulation to ensure that your employees know what to do in the event of a security breach or other incident.
  • Evaluate risk. Understand what data is at risk and where it resides. Data visualizers and analytics tools can help you identify where your key data lives and make sure it complies with company policies and industry regulations.
  • Run patches. Run patches while you can and make sure they are up to date.
  • Back up data. Ensure that data is backed up through a “3-2-1 rule.” This means that you have three copies of your data, two of which are on different storage media and one of which is air gapped in an offsite location, meaning it’s isolated from the public internet and from unsecure systems.
If you are still running Windows 7 be sure to work with us to plan a migration, it will require time.
If you have any questions please contact us @ 203-431-8324 or support@southridgetech.com.