Microsoft has officially ended support for Windows 7 as of January 14th. Many credit unions have already upgraded to Windows 10, but many haven’t. So what do you do if you somehow missed it? What are your options and what can you do about it now?
So, What does Microsoft do next?
Now that the drop dead date is here and gone what does it mean. Essentially, Microsoft will no longer patch or fix security vulnerabilities going forward. The good news is that many, many vulnerabilities have already been patched, the Operating System is very stable, and not many new exploits are being found. The bad news, if a new one is found, Microsoft won’t be doing anything about it. The reality is that new features, warranty claims and changes stopped 5…yes FIVE, years go.
So, What should you do next?
Your PC’s will continue to work. New software going forward probably will be less and less likely to work. Things that haven’t been fixed already – won’t be. That being said – get your pcs replaced and the Operating System replaced ASAP.
Windows 10 will likely work with your existing hardware – so you don’t necessarily need to throw it away. You can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free. However - you can’t get upgrade pricing and use a fresh installation. (Usually you want to do this every so often to clean-up old junk and software on the pc and have it perform better). If you have Office 365 you can upgrade. If you need new licensing (you will have to buy Windows 10 Pro)s) – Click here to learn about Office 365 migrations for credit unions.
So, What if you have a legacy credit union application that is preventing you from upgrading?
Let’s face it. Some of the software providers in credit union land are old school. They wrote something once and it is still working and used by 2 people at the credit union 19 years later. Sometimes we come across old DOS programs that are still working….it’s crazy. So, if you have something like that or need some extra time while you finish rolling out new pcs or testing you have some options.
- Accept the risk – just role with the punches and accept that there probably won’t be a lot of new issues popping up. This isn’t ideal but you will probably be fine for another 3 to 6 months. Eventually though this will be an issue either because you get hacked or because the auditors punch you!
- Sign-up for Microsoft Security Essentials (Microsoft’s built-in anti-virus in Windows 7). You will at least ensure your pcs won’t suddenly become at risk for viruses and other online threats for a while. As of 1/17/2020 - Microsoft does not support Security Essentials on win 7 anymore for new installations. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17150/windows-7-what-is-microsoft-security-essentials
- Purchase Extended Support- in theory for another $61 per device you can extend the support for a while longer and if a major vulnerability comes out – Microsoft will patch it.
What do OGO Chief Information Security Officers say?
Shane Butcher - “Upgrade now. Unlike fine wines, Operating Systems do not get better with age. Windows 7 was a great operating system but its time has passed. Your TCO to run that operating system and maintain applications on it will only continue to rise. If you will not be upgraded past Q1, purchase the extended support. You do not want to be in situation where patching a vulnerability would have prevented a member data breach at your credit union.”
Bob Miles – “Don't think the band aides you put on to extend support today won't hurt when you have to rip them off and upgrade anyway 6 months from now." 🙁