As Windows 7 nears its end of life, here’s the implications for those not moving their devices to Windows 10
A red-letter day for IT systems is on the horizon and the implications for those who miss it are both significant and currently underestimated.
On 14 January 2020, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 7. It will still be possible to access Windows 7 after that date, but users will no longer receive updates or support—including new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, and online technical content updates—from Microsoft.
Despite this, it seems few are prepared for the implications of continuing to rely on Windows 7 beyond the end-of-life date. Research conducting by Microsoft found that 55% of SMBs were ‘slightly aware’ or ‘not aware’ of the Windows 7 end-of-life date. Less than 30% of SMBs had formal plans for the Windows 7 end-of-life.
This has not restricted the adoption of Window 10 though, with 700 million devices now on the incumbent. Having achieved this in just three years, it is the fastest-growing version of Windows ever.
However, with many businesses still hurtling towards the Windows 7 deadline, what can they expect on the other side?
Doing nothing could cost everything
Security is the most compelling reason to update. Put simply, PCs running Windows 7 after 14 January 2020 should not be considered protected.
Such devices are vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. According to figures from Webroot, the average Windows 7 PC houses twice as much malware as a Windows 10 machine. The report also found that only 15% of the total files determined to be malware in 2017 were seen on Windows 10 systems, while 63% were still found on Windows 7 PCs.
While the implications of allowing the Windows 7 end-of-life deadline to sail past are unpalatable, the solution is a much easier hunger to satisfy—the migration to Windows 10.
A Windows 10 device gives users end-to-end protection to defend businesses against threats as it will be up-to-date with the latest safeguards protecting devices from malicious attacks.
To provide context to all this, it is important to note that a report by the Ponemon Institute found that cyber-attacks cost small and medium-sized businesses an average of £1.4m. For large businesses, the costs are much higher.
This is not just a security issue though, aspects such as productivity and collaboration are also at stake. With Windows 10, businesses can get more done faster. New devices enable faster startup, better multitasking, and have a longer lasting battery than older devices. Plus, modern devices have superior portability, so employees can be productive from anywhere and more easily collaborate with colleagues.
This is not a painful process either—Windows 10 is compatible with 99% of Windows 7 apps. This enables businesses to transition smoothly to Windows 10 with the ability to easily integrate existing computers, monitors, and printers.
Overall, no matter which way you cut it—security, productivity, collaboration or easy of migration— if businesses are looking to save money, they should be looking to spend it on Windows 10 first.
 Windows 7 End Of Service Research, April 2018, Microsoft Corporation
 Windows 10 is now installed on over 700 million devices worldwide, Tech Radar, 26 September, 2018 https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/windows-10-is-now-installed-on-over-700-million-devices-worldwide
 Still running Windows 7 instead of Windows 10? You’re at greater risk from malware says report, TechRepublic, 26 March, 2018 https://www.techrepublic.com/article/still-running-windows-7-instead-of-windows-10-youre-at-greater-risk-from-malware-says-report/
 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMB), Ponemon Institute