Windows 7 and Server 2008 are ending: here are your options

The end is nigh for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 (including R2), even though it remains in widespread use across the world. Both were released back in 2009, nearly a decade ago. 

To put that into perspective, 2009 was the year Apple released iPhone 3GS and Google shipped Android 2.0 Éclair. The world has well and truly moved on from the days of the original iPhone and Android, and the same applies for your business’s IT fleet. 

Microsoft’s most major release in recent times as been Windows 10 and their Azure platform. Microsoft released Windows 10 to the world in 2015 and has been very keen to get people moving over to the OS ever since. Microsoft Azure has been around a little longer, but only really kicked into over drive over the last few years.
The end of Windows 7 and Server 2008

As of January 2019, it appears that persistence has finally paid off for Microsoft, with NetMarketShare reporting that Windows 7’s market share had finally dropped below that of Windows 10 for the first time (36.90% vs 39.22%). Since then, Windows 7’s market share steadily dropped, with the largest dip occurring most recently as July 2019 (31.83% vs 48.86%). This trend is expected to continue.

chart.png

Windows 7 and Server 2008 support officially ends on January 14 2020. After this date Microsoft will stop delivering new updates and security patches to your workstations and servers. This doesn’t mean that your Windows 7 workstations and servers running Server 2008 will all of a sudden stop working on this date, but it does mean they will quickly become highly vulnerable to attacks. 

For some businesses, running an unsupported OS will compromise basic due diligence and industry compliance standards, for others it may not be as serious. Regardless of where you sit, if your business is still running Windows 7 or Server 2008, there are some important decisions that need to be made and not much time left to do it.

What are my options?

For workstations, migrating to Windows 10 is the preferred option. Being a much more modern OS, it brings a large number of new features and security enhancements. Due to the age of Windows 7, it does not have the built in end-to-end defence stack that Windows 10 has. The impact of any sort of cyber-attack on a business could cripple it for an extended duration and Windows 7 is 3.4 times more likely to be targeted by ransomware attacks according to Microsoft

One of the major changes and features with Windows 10 was making sure it follows the new ‘Windows as a Service’ (WaaS) policy. This policy helps guarantee a smoother transition between new iterations of Windows 10, which are now occurring more frequently. 

These new iterations are deployed through incremental updates which happen behind the scenes and without the major disruption that occurred in the past when moving between newer versions of Microsoft’s operating systems.

If upgrading to Windows 10 is out of the question, then assuming you are running Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise, you can pay Microsoft an additional fee in order to continue receiving extended security updates through to 2023 through their Extended Security Update Program (ESU). This fee is charged per device and increases each year. You can read more about it here.

For your servers, you have a couple of options available to you. You can look to migrate to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, or if you wish to stay on premise, you can migrate to Windows Server 2016. 

There is a large variety of paths you could go down here, so if your business is still using Windows 7 or Server 2008, it’s now time to start planning for its end of life. Kiandra has 24 years of experience in this space. We can help you plan a solution and schedule a smooth transition to Windows 10, Server 2016 or Azure. Contact us to get the ball rolling!