Almost exactly one year from now on January 14, 2020, Microsoft officially ends all extended security support for Windows 7. Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows 7 in 2015 and 2019 truly marks your last chance to upgrade before Windows 7 becomes a major liability.

How big of a risk is running an unsupported operating system? It’s like leaving your basement door open; you might not get an intruder the first week, month, or year, but eventually something uninvited will make their way into your house with the potential to take out more than just a single TV (or PC in this case).

Ever heard of WannaCry Malware? In 2017 this aptly named attack targeted a vulnerability in unsupported Windows XP operating systems and Windows 2003 server software. It affected 200,000 computers Worldwide and cost companies millions of dollars in total to recover from. Once the extended support for Windows 7 ends, everyday tasks like email and web browsing will become potential breaches that can expose your machines and networks.

Most industrial environments have work stations or staff computers using Windows 7. It’s common for these machines to have access to networks, financial data, customer data, important passwords, and more. Leaving these computers on a legacy software after January 2019 can result in your data being held hostage, corporate espionage, or the complete takedown of your entire network.

Upgrading in 2019 is the Smart Move

Waiting until the last minute can be expensive and risky. The Microsoft extended support is still in place this year, which means overall risk is still low. Instead of rushing through your upgrades at the end of the year, start planning now while you can take advantage of a smart project timeline.

STA’s background in executing internal IT initiatives can help you make the upgrade easier and more manageable. We know how much angst a change like this can cause, and most facilities don’t have the time or desire to project manage the headache of computer and workstations upgrades.

We can prepare your new machines with Windows 10, testing your critical applications prior to a large migration. We assist with adding your custom software’s, databases, and settings before moving users. This minimizes downtime and makes the migration quick and easy. We also manage training and support, making sure each user is comfortable with the new operating system as we roll it out.

Our experience with OT networks also allows us to assist with long term planning and replacement of production workstations on the floor and in the control room. These machines can be difficult to migrate due to the high cost of specialized software and complex setups. Long term planning and interim security mitigations can save your network from expensive downtime from the growing threat of malware and state sponsored attacks on manufacturers.

If you are ready to discuss options or want to learn more about how to safely upgrade Windows before it’s too late, contact us. In the meantime, here’s some additional resources to checkout about Windows 7’s obsolescence: