4 Minutes

We know how big of a pain it can be for any business to have to change software. Employees are comfortable and businesses may have used the same product for years.

However, Microsoft is ending support for several major products as of January 2020. Businesses that don’t upgrade soon could risk catastrophic damage to their systems should cybercriminals exploit any vulnerabilities.

We can’t stress enough that when a Microsoft product reaches it’s end of life cycle, Microsoft won’t release any more security updates. This leaves businesses using these products at a high risk.

Understanding End Of Life

Every Microsoft product has a set lifecycle. When the lifecycle ends, Microsoft also stops creating updates and security patches for that product. Some products do qualify for the Extended Security Update Program, which provides companies that absolutely need to continue running legacy software to still receive critical security updates for up to three additional years.

However, once the extended period is up, the company must either upgrade or deal with the security risks. Microsoft offers a searchable database to see when support ends for any Microsoft products.

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Risks Increase After End Of Life

Cybercriminals love when Microsoft cuts support for major products. Why? We’ve all been guilty of loving a specific operating system or tool and wanting to hold on to it a bit longer. Hackers come up with new ways to exploit vulnerabilities every single day. When Microsoft is no longer actively patching new vulnerabilities, hackers can easily target businesses who haven’t upgraded.

One major example of hackers taking advantage of unsupported Microsoft products is the WannaCry ransomware. So many businesses using Windows XP were targeted that Microsoft made a rare exception and issued an emergency security patch. Despite support ending for XP in 2014, one in three businesses still use Windows XP in 2019.

This has made XP a major target for cyberattacks. Even with the best defenses, we caution businesses that it’s only a matter of time before hackers get through. This is true for every product that Microsoft ends support for.

January 2020 End Of Life Products

As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be ending support for:

  • Microsoft Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Server 2008
  • R2 Hyper-V 2008
  • Hyper-V 2008 R2
  • Windows Storage Server 2008
  • Microsoft Dynamics 2015

We realize these are products many companies still utilize on a daily basis, but they’re not going to be safe for much longer. Hackers don’t wait around to give companies time to upgrade. Instead, any business running unsupported software becomes an instant target. Think of it as waving a white flag and saying “we surrender, hack us now.”

Why Businesses Risk It

We fully understand why businesses might choose to take a risk versus upgrading. Some of the common reasons we hear include:

  • It costs too much.
  • Upgrading is too complicated.
  • We’ll lose data while upgrading.
  • There will be compatibility issues.
  • Employees prefer older software.
  • We don’t have time to upgrade.

All of those are valid reasons. Yet, we can promise companies that none of those have to hold a business back from upgrading. Those are simply excuses to put of the inevitable. And yes, eventually, businesses do have to upgrade as newer hardware and software from other developers won’t be compatible with older Microsoft products.

Taking A Proactive Approach

According to our research and the view of other IT experts, it’s almost a guarantee that within days of product support ending, ransomware will target businesses on a massive scale. The spread will easily cost billions, much like WannaCry resulting in over $8 billion in damages to small and medium-sized businesses.

We don’t want to see that happen, especially when there are things companies can do right away to prevent becoming a target. It all starts by contacting our team today.

We have over 95 full-time employees who are ready to assist businesses in upgrading. This isn’t a long-term contract situation. We just want to help companies take a proactive approach against an impending ransomware spree. With the average cost of a ransomware incident costing over $700,000, businesses can’t afford the risk.

We’ve learned that 43% of desktops are still running Windows 7. We get it, we liked Windows 7 too. However, it’s not going to be safe much longer. We’ve also discovered that 63% of businesses using Windows Server are using Windows Server 2008 R2 or older. Those are large percentages of businesses that will be targeted after the January cut off date.

While we commend businesses for having backups in place, it’s much easier said than done to recover from a ransomware incident. It’s time consuming and companies will lose customers in the process.

We highly recommend to take action now before it’s too late. Contact us today to ensure your business doesn’t become a hacker’s target just because Microsoft is ending support for your products.

 

Learn More: www.eol2020.com

 

Jason Lathrop

Written by Jason Lathrop

Jason has a rare talent for technology enablement and optimization. He brings unique insight—based on nearly 20 years of experience in IT infrastructure support--into how technology enhances (or kills) business processes. For ISOutsource and for many of our 650+ clients, he has developed systems and processes that streamline operations, cut costs, and increase revenue. He works with key team members at all levels across the organization to ensure successful implementation, from discovery, evaluation, and planning, through rollout, testing, end-user training, vendor management, and ongoing support.