After running for just over 10 years, Windows will be ending support for Windows 7 as of tomorrow.
This means that after 14th January, anybody still using this software will not be able to receive any updates, fixes or support, leaving them vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches.
Microsoft, the owners of Windows, have stated that those who continue to use Windows 7 without updating “will be at greater risk [of] viruses and malware”.
Raj Samani, Chief Scientist and Fellow at McAfee that following this move, firms need to be aware of any potential danger they may be exposing themselves to by using an outdated system.
He suggests: “By using an unsupported operating system, businesses expose themselves to cybersecurity risks as Microsoft will no longer resolve security flaws found on the system, provide technical support or issue software updates. Cybercriminals can then use this to their advantage by identifying any flaws in the system and potentially accessing data and information – as seen previously during the end life of former operating systems, such as Windows XP.”
“To ensure businesses do not fall victim to cybercrime related to Windows 7, IT teams should apply updates immediately in order to guarantee that they’re supported by an OS that is regularly and rigorously tested for security flaws, ensuring protection across all devices and systems,” Samani adds.
The tech giant suggests that users upgrade to Windows 10 in order to stay secure. It continues to unsurprisingly add that those wanting to upgrade should consider getting a new PC in general. It says, “The best way to experience Windows 10 is on a new PC. Not only are new modern PCs fast (thanks to solid state drives) and durable with batteries that last longer, the average price for a great PC is considerably less than it was 5-10 years ago.”
However, Matt Smith, Director, Public Sector, UK & Ireland, Citrix, comments that many places across the UK, including the NHS, are still reliant upon Windows and that a move like this for such a big business may be problematic, but isn’t impossible.
“The NHS is unquestionably dedicated to delivering first-class patient services, and recognises the role technology will play as it aims to deliver more with less. Having up-to-date and agile technology can drive productivity and overall workplace satisfaction by lightening workloads and boosting employee engagement. In a vital organisation like the NHS, technology which supports the productivity potential of its workforce can also lead to better patient service by enabling NHS staff to work more effectively and help more citizens,” Says Smith.
The director adds: “Yet given the additional security considerations that come with outdated technology, many NHS Trusts – and other organisations relying on E5 subscriptions after the Windows 7 end of life deadline – will need to accelerate their Windows 10 migration this year to ensure IT infrastructure is up-to-date and secure before the extended security updates time out. This up-to-date and secure IT infrastructure is necessary to both better support NHS staff in their day-to-day jobs and ensure first-class healthcare services in the UK.”