Published: Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:18
Over the years Microsoft have developed a wide range of software products for PCs, laptops and Servers, each product has a product life cycle which provides the users with the security and bug fix updates to ensure their data is safe and secure.
What is Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008?
Windows 7 is the desktop PC/Laptop operating system which is used, it allows users to run applications such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Adobe Reader, Word, Excel, Outlook. Windows 7 was initially released on 22 July 2009 to enterprises and was available to everyone from October 2009.
Windows Server 2008 is used on servers and has many functions, most businesses will use it as File Server, Print server, Web Server and Active Directory. The server functions can be extended by running applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SQL Server. Windows Server 2008 was released on 27 February 2008 and R2 (release 2) was released on 22 October 2009.
When is the End Of Support life?
Many thousands of devices still run Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 the official End of Extended support is 14 Jan 2020.
What does end of life mean to small businesses?
When a software product becomes end of support life, it will not stop working or be deleted or remove all of the data. However, using the software may become harder or have some security implications for your business.
When Windows XP ended extended support in April 2014, many businesses continued to use the software without issue until major security issues affected thousands of users as hackers were able to attack their systems with ease. Microsoft occasionally will release a fix for Windows XP however we rarely find clients use the system as the hardware would have been replaced over the last 5 years.
If your business accepts card payments which requires a PCI compliance test or you are Cyber Essentials certified or are an ISO compliant company, then its time to think about replacing the hardware or upgrading to Windows 10 for PCs
The latest offering from Microsoft – Windows 10 was released in 2016 and has a number of upgrades which has resulted in a stable operating system which is now ideal for most businesses.
If you are running a Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 or Small Business Server 2008/2011 server, this should be replaced for a number of reasons including:
- Security of data
- Hardware performance/failure
- Ongoing Support
Although running a server with an older version of the software is possible, a large number of small businesses were attacked by encryption malware in the last year which caused disruption and downtime.
Levels of support?
Microsoft have different levels of support, when a product is released this is generally 3-5 years, when the product can be sold before the next version will be released. When the next version of the product is released such as Windows 8 for PCs and Windows 2012 for Servers, Microsoft expect customers will upgrade in due course. Once the next product is released a End of Mainstream support is advised. This is when the product is no longer available for general purchase.
Extended support is the period when Microsoft will officially still provide security and bug fix updates and well as their paid support.
What can you do?
- Audit the equipment and software you have installed.
- Establish if any is nearing end of support life
We recommend contacting us or your IT professional who should be able to assist you with the next steps of data migration and hardware replacement.
For PCs which are under 3 years old, you may be able to upgrade to Windows 10 already, some manufacturers PCs were supplied with Windows 10 licensing but had Windows 7 installed.
Microsoft have recently introduced Microsoft 365 subscription which extends Office 365 to include Windows 10 for your hardware.
For Server, if you are running Windows 2008/2008 R2 you may require replacement hardware as running Windows Server 2016/2019 on older hardware which may fail is not recommended.
Should you need assistance with your audits or Migration please contact us on 0333 332 6600.