As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System is no longer being supported by Microsoft. What does this mean for your agency?
First and foremost, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to Windows 7. What this really means is Windows 7 will be vulnerable to potential hackers, because security updates will no longer be made for Windows 7. Just like XP, hackers could find ways to penetrate the system and allow malware or viruses to enter your system. This might not happen overnight, but the chances of this happening in the future are of great concern.
Will My Software Continue to Work on Windows 7?
Do not panic. Software will continue to work on Windows 7. However, you will start to see more software vendors stop supporting Windows 7 as time goes by. Most importantly, if your browser software stops supporting Windows 7, you run the risk of clicking on a malicious website and acquiring a virus.
How Do We Stop This Nagging Reminder Message?
Microsoft will present messages on your computer informing you Windows 7 system is out of date (providing you have installed the latest update to Windows 7). If you want to stop these nagging messages, you will need to upgrade. There is also another way to stop the message. In the bottom left hand corner of the message box, you will notice a check box with the message “Do not remind me again”. You can select that box and the messages will stop appearing on your screen. But remember, this will stop the message, so do not forget you will still need to upgrade to Windows 10!
Should I Just Upgrade Windows 7 or Purchase a New Computer?
More than likely, it is going to be in your best interest to purchase a new machine. If the Windows 10 Professional upgrade is going to cost around $100 and your IT professional is going to charge $100 for the installation, you might seriously consider purchasing a new machine. In some cases, the cost to upgrade may be more than 50% of the value of the machine.
Depending on your computers’ capabilities, you may not be able to use all of the features of Windows 10 if you do not purchase a new machine.
Will This Impact Our Agency Cyber Security Plan?
Absolutely! Anytime Microsoft announces they will no longer be providing security updates to a release of their operating system, this is a major flag for cyber-security within your agency. As part of your Written Information Security Plan (WISP) you must keep your operating systems and patches up-to-date.
You should have a list of all hardware and software for every computer in your office. Verify the computers that have Windows 7 installed and establish an immediate plan to update or replace the machines.
Consult With Your IT Professional!
Before making a move to upgrade your systems, check with your IT professional. They can give you advice on the best solution for your agency. Remember, if you have waited until now to upgrade or replace your machines, your IT Professional might be overwhelmed with current requests.
If you have questions, please contact IIANC’s Technology Consultant George Robertson at GRobertson@iianc.com
IIANC members have access to a qualified, insurance agency Technology Consultant to help with a variety of issues including cyber liability planning for your agency and development of a custom Written Information Security Plan (WISP). Learn more here.