January 14, 2020 is a somewhat ominous date if you’re still using Windows 7. On that day, Microsoft will officially pull the plug on standard support for one of its most popular operating systems ever.
Windows 7 has enjoyed a great run. Since becoming publicly available in October of 2009, Windows 7 has been a reliable performer for a decade. According to Netmarketshare data for March 2019, Windows 7 is still owns 36.52 percent of operating system market share, trailing only Windows 10, which Microsoft has been heavily promoting for several years.
That means more than one-third of all computers are running an operating system that will be unsupported in less than a year.
But Windows 7 won’t ride into the sunset alone. Microsoft will also end support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on the same date. To be clear, these products will continue to function. However, Microsoft will no longer release security patches or bug fixes. They won’t offer technical support. They won’t even update time zones.
The risks of continuing to run unsupported products are enormous. If new vulnerabilities are discovered, they won’t be addressed, which will increase the risk of data loss, security breaches and compliance violations. Hackers are already plotting their strategies to exploit Windows 7 and Server 2008 when support ends.
Also, if you experience technical glitches that make the system unstable or difficult to use, those issues won’t be fixed, which will affect user productivity and the customer experience. If you’re stuck, Microsoft won’t help.
While end-of-life announcements should provide a sense of urgency to upgrade, they should also be viewed as an opportunity to innovate. By upgrading, you’ll be modernizing your technology and enhancing your capabilities.
Windows 10 is the most obvious upgrade choice for Windows 7 users. You stay in the Microsoft family, the user interface and functionality are very similar, and you’ll be able to take advantage of a number of advanced security features in Windows 10 that Windows 7 doesn’t have. This could be the perfect time to upgrade to computers with better performance and more storage capacity, especially if you’re using older computers that don’t meet the minimum technical requirements of Windows 10.
If you’re using Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2, you have two options. If you need an on-premise server for security or compliance reasons, you can upgrade to Windows Server 2016. The only catch is that you can’t jump right from 2008 to 20016. You have to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 first, which can make the process a bit more complex.
The other option is to migrate to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. With Azure, you have access to the latest applications and services without the overhead of managing and maintaining infrastructure. Instead trying to find room in the budget for large capital expenditures, you pay a monthly subscription for the services you need. Azure can also be integrated with on-premise tools to create a hybrid cloud environment.
Unfortunately, migrating to a new operating system or server isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. The process is complicated and challenging, so you need the right migration strategy to minimize business disruption, avoid costly downtime, and take full advantage of your new technology’s capabilities.
As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), Ancero can help ease the transition. You can lean on our team of Microsoft experts to handle the migration, day-to-day management, billing and support. The Microsoft CSP program allows Ancero to go beyond reselling Azure and licensing. We can get more involved as a consultant and a managed solution provider for your business by managing all of the complex aspects of your Microsoft relationship.
If you’re still using Windows 7, Microsoft Server 2008, or Microsoft Server 2008 R2, the clock is ticking. Let Ancero help you choose the migration path that aligns with your business needs and seamlessly transition to modern solutions.