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Security risks as Windows 7 goes End of Life – key things to consider

‘End of life’ might be a phrase with not so dramatic consequences for operating systems unlike human beings, but if you are currently using Windows 7, your ears should prick up. In this article, we look at the ‘need to know’ for Windows 7 users as the product approaches its end of life date, and weigh up the most relevant security risks.

What’s the deal?

One of the most pressing concerns which Windows 7 users have is if they will be able to use their computer with the Windows 7 operating system after the product’s official end of life date, which is 14th January 2020. The answer to that is yes, but what should not be ignored are the potential security vulnerabilities which Windows 7 users will be exposed to if they don’t upgrade to Windows 10.

The official word

Microsoft themselves have underlined the importance of upgrading your operating system ahead of time: “You can continue to use Windows 7, but once support ends, your PC will become more vulnerable to security risks. Windows will operate, but you will stop receiving security and feature updates.”

What does that mean in practical terms? Microsoft will no longer bear any responsibility for security breaches which occur after the end of life date. It should be remembered that protecting your systems against unwanted parties is an ongoing activity. New malware is being developed all the time and the rise in data breaches following the loss or theft of a device has all reached an all-time high. So, if you are not able to give yourself sufficient protection by regularly updating your OS and utilising data protection strategies such as encryption, well; the consequences could hit you where it hurts.

Data security concerns

One of the largest cyber security weak spots you could leave yourself with is in relation to your data. In the era of “Big Data”, it has never been more imperative to safeguard both your company data and personal information which belongs to your customers and partners. By continuing to use Windows 7 past its end of life date, individuals and organisations are putting their data in jeopardy, and in the case of commercial organisations, that can mean falling foul of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

MFG Managed Encryption are already helping existing customers and partners with the upgrade to Windows 10 as an essential update, safeguarding their IT infrastructure, protecting their data, and avoiding a situation where they need service or support that is no longer available. But with great OS upgrades comes great patch management responsibility.

Patch manage your way to victory

MFG Managed Encryption have created documents designed to help organisations define and build a process for patch managing Windows 10 updates. This process will not only be beneficial for Managed Encryption products, but also help you build procedures for Windows security updates (which will arise during your Cyber Essentials or ISO 27001 accreditations).

As a direct result of the GDPR, all businesses will need to improve their security measures to reduce the risk. For some, non-compliance with patching can have a huge impact on their ability to conduct business.

For more advice on the best way to make the transition to Windows 10, and to speak to a member of our friendly team, call us today on 0118 914 8800 or email us on info@managedencryption.co.uk