End of life security holes

Microsoft End of Life Products #1 Culprit for 2020 Security Breaches

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Danger: 2020 Microsoft End of Life Products

In 2020 Microsoft Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Office 10, and certain versions of Windows 10 will reach the Microsoft end of life.  Likewise, in 2019 60% of all hacks were a result of unapplied patches according to ServiceNow.  As a result, this combination greatly increases the SMBs risk of being hacked.  For instance, there will be no new:

  • security updates
  • non-security updates
  • free or paid assisted support options
  • online technical content.

Accordingly, Microsoft end of life products creates an open playground for hackers.   I expect them to exploit these vulnerabilities and we will see a huge increase in security breaches in 2020.  For this reason, it is most dangerous for SMB because they are notorious for holding on to Microsoft end of life products.

Microsoft End of Life Financial Cost

Security threats have been on the rise over the past five years.  Add to that unsupported Microsoft end of life products, and you have absolute chaos.  As a result, once a hacker finds a vulnerability, they quickly embed themselves in the system.  First, they establish a foothold in the system.   Second, they analyze the environment.  Third, install malware.

Finally, once the hacker downloads malware on your system, they can easily collect information, intercept traffic, and scan devices. Most concerning, the average breach goes undetected for 276 days. That is nine months during which a hacker is peaking around and stealing your valuable information without your knowledge. Subsequently, you should ask yourself what type of information on your system they can exploit.  Is it intellectual property?  HR information?  Banking information?  Client information?  In the end, all these things have a monetary value.  For instance, they can keep you from accessing your information.  Moreover, they can seize your information and sell it.  Both can cause a serious financial crisis.

Steps to Protect Yourself

There are many reasons why a company will hold off on updating their software and reach Microsoft end of life.  However, there is a solution for each one.  First, some hold off due to cost.  Second, is the pain associated with change?  Third, are there compatibility issues with legacy software?

  • Cost – Cost can be a major factor in upgrading system software.  Today, you have more options than ever before.  For example, if your provider has the right connections, Office 365 can be billed out monthly.  You can also lease the software and labor installation to spread out the cost over several years.
  • Change – Downtime can be a major detriment to operations.  A mature IT organization knows how to plan for this.  Most updates can be done at night or over the weekend.  Also, a quality MSP will have an engineer readily available on the go-live date.
  • Custom Legacy Software Compatibility Issues –  Your custom software may not work with new operating systems or office products.  However, there are many affordable programs available in the market today.  Start looking at your options today.

At the end of the day, upgrading your Microsoft end of life software does not have to be hard.  If it is done right, your MSP will know the proper steps to make the transition smooth for both you and your end-users.

In conclusion, if you have Microsoft Windows 7, and Windows 8.1, Office 10, and Windows 10, it’s time to upgrade or risk being the next cybersecurity target.  INSI can help.  We can help you plan so you will never find yourself in this situation again.  Moreover, we will help prepare for the inevitable by planning for warranty expiration and end of life software products.  If you want to take control of your technology expenses, call INSI today at 770-387-2424.  A seasoned consultant will help you through the process.  Call now.

About Deborah Frazier information

Deborah Frazier has nearly 20 years in the IT Support industry. She is also the successful author of "IT Outsourcing Secrets - A Small Business Guide to Compare IT Support Companies."