How the End of Windows 7 Will Affect Business and Residential Cybersecurity

All good things eventually come to an end – especially in the world of technology. However, this reality has yet to sink in for many loyal Windows 7 users, who continue to rely on the operating system even after years of warnings from Microsoft. The need for change is now stronger than ever, as the official end-of-life date – January 14th, 2020 – is almost here.

Despite the rapidly approaching deadline, a significant share of Microsoft users continues to stick with Windows 7. Concerning data from NetMarketShare revealed that 28 percent of computers still ran Windows 7 as of September 2019, even though mainstream support ended four years ago. The operating system remains in a period of extended support, but it won’t last forever.

Technically, devices will still be able to run on Windows 7 after it reaches end-of-life. However, whether users should continue down that road is another matter altogether. Windows 7 has proven the inferior option for quite some time now, but it will become that much riskier in the near future as Microsoft stops applying security patches and upgrades.

Windows 7 End-of-Life: An Increased Risk of Cyber-Attacks in Sussex County and Beyond

Above all else, the need for upgrading to Windows 10 arises from the increased likelihood of a cyber-attack the moment Windows 7 end-of-life occurs. Until now, the operating system has faithfully continued to provide patches to all those who procrastinate on upgrading. Most users are entirely unaware of the prevalence of these operations.

In April 2019, Microsoft issued patches to address a whopping 29 vulnerabilities, several of which were deemed critical. With cyberattacks on the rise, any additional weak spots could ultimately prove devastating.

What the End of Windows 7 Means for Businesses

Attacks are capable of imparting hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage for small businesses. In fact, cyber-attacks cost organizations of all sizes $200,000 on average. Many companies are unable to endure the financial damage related to such incidents, with several going out of business as a result. Now, imagine the devastation imparted by a further onslaught of malware, as patches are no longer offered to protect vulnerable devices.

Not only are businesses’ networks and devices more susceptible to viruses and malware when using Windows 7, but this outdated operating system may also put their customers’ sensitive information at risk. And, in the event that client data is wrongfully accessed, the damage may extend well beyond profits – ultimately harming the organization’s reputation.

What the End of Windows 7 Means for Residential Users

Businesses aren’t the only ones who face risks when relying on Windows 7 – residential users may also fall victim to a variety of threats. Experts fear a repeat of the infamous WannaCry debacle, which occurred in response to a similar set of circumstances. After support for Windows XP ended, this ransomware threat spread quickly, with hackers targeting a variety of devices by encrypting sensitive data and seeking cryptocurrency ransoms. Experts at Europol estimate that the bug quickly spread to over 200,000 computers in 150 countries. While the attack was stopped in its tracks after just a few days, it still led to a complete catastrophe for hundreds of thousands of users.

A future version of WannaCry could easily emerge in the aftermath of Windows 7 end-of-life. This time, widespread attacks could prove even more devastating. Why risk it – especially when Windows 10 offers so many clear advantages? Performance tests reveal that Windows 10 is far faster, especially for multitasking users. The operating system also provides easy access to a variety of exciting features, such as voice assistant Cortana.

It’s Not Too Late: How to Upgrade to Windows 10

If there’s a bit of good news among all of these dire Windows 7 warnings, it’s that a few weeks remain before end-of-life strikes. If you move quickly, you can still secure the upgrades needed to protect your devices.

For many individuals and businesses, price constitutes the chief concern of upgrading to Windows 10. Loyal Windows 7 users may wonder: can you still upgrade to Windows 10 for free? If you take Microsoft’s word for it, the answer is no – the company currently lists a going rate of $139 on its website. However, select users have recently managed to obtain the new operating system free of charge, thanks to a program that technically ended in 2016. Available for select Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users, this free upgrade may still be functional.

Even if you end up paying to shift to Windows 10, the small fee will ultimately prove more than worthwhile. The costs associated with your failure to upgrade could amount to far more, especially if you run a business. Therefore, there’s no sense in waiting any longer.

Upgrading Your Operating System: How NerdsToGo Can Help

Are you still struggling to make the leap from Windows 7 to Windows 10? Time is running out. The sooner you seek expert IT services, the better.

Consider reaching out to the trusted team at NerdsToGo to seek a Windows 10 upgrade in Franklin, NJ. Our Nerds can handle your entire Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade. We’ll also provide the guidance you need to feel comfortable using Windows 10 on your devices.

We understand that change is tough, but the last thing we want is to see you, your loved ones, or your business suffering due to your failure to switch operating systems. Contact us today to learn more about our computer repair services.