No, it’s not the apocalypse. We’re too optimistic for that. Nevertheless, there’s an existential threat to your business, and it’s approaching fast: Microsoft will end life support for Windows 7 on January 20, 2020.
This version of Microsoft’s operating system line launched in July 2009. And since tech advances in dog years, it's as though it dates to 1949. Yep, you’re running your business on a the equivalent of a Dodge Coronet.
Here’s our fiscally conservative advice: Bury Windows 7 before it buries you. Seriously. There are few reasons to keep chugging away on Windows 7, far more to upgrade to its successor Windows 10.
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Here are five:
1. You’re risking your business.
As of January 20, 2020, Microsoft will cease updating Windows 7 – no technical support, no software improvements, and most of all no security updates. As you well know, hackers are continually coming up with ways to screw you.
2. You’re throwing good money after bad.
Microsoft isn't pulling the plug completely. It'll offer support for Windows 7 beyond 2020 but only if you pay for it. (See table.) If you have a compelling reason for using Windows 7 to, say, sustain a key homegrown core business application, then pony up. Otherwise, prepare to open your wallet to solving avoidable tech issues. Keep in mind, too, Microsoft closes the door on any and all support for Windows 7 at the end of January 2023, so the end is nigh, one way or another.
3. You’re bleeding productivity.
What business doesn’t care about cost containment and resource maximization? Windows 10 is faster. The interface is vastly improved. It's chock full of new features. Apple users simply can’t look down their noses at a PC any longer. There's one other often overlooked plus to Windows 10. With it, Microsoft embraced a concept for its licensed software that's all the rage in the cloud. It's called Windows as a Service. Under it, instead of periodic upgrades, it continuously improves and updates the OS, making it far easier to keep up security and other enhancements.
4. You may violate federal regulations.
HIPAA, the patient data privacy law, applies to all healthcare providers and – get this – anyone who does business with them. If you’re not meeting HIPAA security standards – and Windows 7 wouldn’t – you’re risking the long arm of HIPAA enforcers who are, by the way, planning to continue a get-tough campaign that began last year
5. You’re behind the curve.
If you care about keeping up or getting ahead in today’s brutally hyper-competitive economy, behind is no place to be. More than 55 percent of all PCs are now humming on Microsoft’s Windows 10. You’re part of a fast-shrinking minority.
Convinced? Now get ready. The good news: There’s still time to plan and budget for the upgrade.
Finally, let us help. Contact us at IT Total Care for an upgrade estimate. Why take the time away from running your business when our IT professionals can get the license, schedule the upgrade according to your budget timetable, and test if for you.
IT Total Care VP Patrick Houston is a former tech journalist and editor who has worked for ZDNet and CNET. He’s been nosing around all kinds of tech way longer than he’d like you to know.