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This year, Microsoft announced End of Support for Windows 7 will begin on January 14, 2020. As we approach the new year, organizations still running Windows 7 should – if you haven’t already – prepare to transition to Windows 10. What does End of Support mean, exactly? End of Support has occurred for previous versions of Windows over the years. Simply put, if your organization continues to use Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, software updates, or security updates. This will *not* cause your machines still running Windows 7 to quit working; however, these machines *will* “become more vulnerable to security risks.

What Can Your Organization Do to Prepare for Windows 7 End of Support? 

Quite literally, your organization can buy more time. Microsoft has offered temporary solutions for organizations that are unable to transition to Windows 10 before the January 14, 2020 deadline. If your organization uses Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Enterprise, “you can purchase extended security updates through January 2023.” This will provide security updates for your machines running Windows 7 for an additional three years – a game changer when it comes to the security of your organization. While this is offered by Microsoft, they recommend the following options for those needing to transition:

 

Recommended: Shift to Microsoft 365 or upgrade directly to the latest feature update of Windows 10. If organizations find any application compatibility issues after a Windows 10 update, Desktop App Assure (aka.ms/DesktopAppAssureRequest) is designed to help them get a fix.

Fallback: Leverage Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure and get free Extended Security Updates for 3 more years. For organizations to whom a virtualization solution might be appropriate, Windows Virtual Desktop is the only cloud-based service that delivers a multi-user Windows 10 experience, optimized for Office 365 ProPlus, and includes free Windows 7 Extended Security Updates.

Last Resort: Buy Extended Security Updates to protect on-premises servers and desktops for 3 more years. Windows 7 Extended Security Updates can also be purchased separately, as a last resort option for Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008/R2 and SQL Server 2008/R2) organizations who require more time to shift to Microsoft 365. Office 2010 does not provide Extended Security Updates.

 

Have More Questions? Check Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ document, our source for this Friday Brief.

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY Brad Pierce

Brad is the director of network security for HORNE Cyber where he focuses on leading the advanced penetration testing teams. Brad has more than 10 years of experience in network deployment, management, support and security.

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