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Comment: Microsoft no longer providing automatic software updates for Windows 7

January 2020 by Alastair Pooley, Chief Information Office at Snow Software

Windows 7 has now reached its End of Life and Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, software updates, security updates and patches. We’ve all been warned in 2015 when Microsoft ended mainstream support for the operating system, yet many corporate systems are still running on Windows 7.

With shipment of PCs showing signs of continued growth, driven by business demand, it is more important than ever for businesses to be protected from potential cyberthreats.

Alastair Pooley, CIO at Snow Software, addresses exactly what this change will mean for IT teams and how businesses can maintain high levels of cybersecurity moving forward.

“As of 14th January this year, Microsoft stopped releasing automatic updates for the Windows 7 and Server 2008 Operating Systems (OS). Without updates, an operating system becomes exposed to greater risk from threats such as ransomware. While any business can choose to pay for extended security updates from Microsoft, the aim of the paid updates is to increase the cost of running older versions in order that it becomes a cheaper option for the businesses to upgrade. This deadline typically becomes the catalyst which forces businesses to finish their migrations to the latest versions.

“For many IT teams, reviewing the estate to shed light on which Operating Systems are running can be a simple exercise of consulting their Technology Intelligence Platform or their Software Asset Management (SAM) system. If you don’t have this data you will not have up to date information about how your IT team are managing the firm’s IT assets, so it’s worth asking some more questions.

“Good cybersecurity means keeping track of where your data and assets are, as this can help you identify vulnerable systems or legacy equipment which should be retired. With GDPR bringing almost every employee device into scope, keeping track of assets is even more important. A live inventory of your IT assets, as provided by SAM systems satisfies both control 1 & 2 from the CIS top 20 security controls. It is also the first item in the NIST Cybersecurity framework.”

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