As an IT professional, you probably know that Microsoft has ended support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. However, a large number of computers around the world, most of them in corporate environments, are still using this 9 year old system.
Organizations that have not yet migrated to Windows 8 or Windows 10 will face high costs for additional support from Microsoft.
What are the impacts?
This end of life means that there will be no more bug fixes, security patches or new features, making any user – individual or corporate – significantly more vulnerable to cyber-malware attacks.
As with Windows XP, Microsoft will continue to provide support for Windows 7 users who are still hesitant to switch to its Windows 10 operating system, but it will cost them dearly.
Windows 7 was the version of Windows most affected by Wanna Cry in 2017. Without patches, Windows 7 is still vulnerable to the recently revealed Blue Keep bug and several other flaws that Microsoft fixed in August.
According to a study by Kaspersky, “40% of very small businesses and 48% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) still depend on operating systems that no longer receive support from their vendors.
Why are so many computers still running Windows 7? The reasons vary:
Some existing software does not work with the latest versions of the operating system.
Some workstations do not have the minimum hardware requirements for Windows 10.
But the risk is too great, migration is inevitable!
What can be done?
Now that Windows 7 is no longer supported, it’s time for you to examine your options. This operating system is more than 10 years old, and you certainly need a plan to migrate your workstations to a more modern OS.
It wouldn’t really be wise to consider migrating to Windows 8.1, as you will only get a few more years of support anyway. Your safest bet would therefore be to upgrade to Windows 10. This is the approach you should take, especially if your company has invested heavily in Microsoft’s software stack and switching to another operating system, such as MacOS or Linux, would end up being too costly.
#1 Migrating to Windows 10 should be your priority
This awareness is important. The migration of your workstations to Windows 10 must become a priority. The project must therefore be launched as soon as possible. This will avoid the security risks associated with the end of Windows 7 support. Studies have shown that unpatched systems account for the majority of data security breaches.
Remember the WannaCry attack? Experts say that this disastrous cyber attack could have been avoided if security patches had been applied to protect Windows 7 systems.
#2 Train your users
If your users have been used to using only Windows 7 for many years, you will surely need to organize a training session, just to get everyone on the same wavelength.
Even though there are many similarities between Windows 10 and Windows 7, your staff may find it difficult to navigate certain menus or even use the new Start menu. In addition, by switching to Windows 10, you may be upgrading to newer versions of some Microsoft software (Office, etc.), the interfaces change and your users may be lost.
Microsoft has provided a lot of useful information on its website, giving you tips on how to communicate about your migration, as well as guides on how to connect printers, use the desktop, and more.
#3 What if some workstations need to remain on Windows 7?
If you absolutely must continue to use Windows 7 on certain workstations for an extended period of time even though support has ended, you have another alternative.
Microsoft will still offer security updates until January 2023, but this will, of course, be in exchange for a fee. Here you will find answers to all the questions you have about extended security updates for Windows 7.
In any case, these workstations should, if possible, be in a different network environment from the rest of the information system. You will need to monitor them very carefully.
How does ceBox® help companies migrate to Windows 10?
Organizations using ceBox® do not experience this end of Windows 7 support like others.
First of all, the migration could have been anticipated through the preparation of the Master on Windows 10. The IT department will have been able to test the different user software in a virtualized test environment. Once all the masters are ready, the migration can be performed remotely via the centralized management console. The IT department will be able to control the deployment even at remote sites, without the need to travel.
In the event of a problem, a return to a previous version can be done in a few minutes.
The solution offers other advantages:
- the possibility to patch the whole IT park in a centralized way very quickly. Whether security patches related to Windows 10 or any other software.
- the possibility to leave a few workstations on Windows 7 if necessary. The solution manages VLANs, so these workstations will not allow a cyber-attack based on Windows 7 vulnerabilities to spread to the entire park and the Read-Only mode will allow to get rid of any Ransomware with a single click.
All in all, the ceBox® solution allows you to better secure your computer park, makes its management more flexible, and the quality of the support provided by the Wisper teams has been recognized by customers such as Papernest, the city of Caen, Comdata and Thalgo. The solution also allows you to better manage your workstations thanks to its centralized management console.
Would you like to know how ceBox® will enable you to better manage your IT equipment and save time for your teams? Ask for a demonstration here.