Windows 7 End of Life & Internet Banking

In light of us reaching Microsoft’s end of support date for Windows 7 this week, security experts from GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) have warned users who have yet to upgrade their device’s Operating System to not login to their online banking due to them now being vulnerable to hackers.

When Microsoft ceased support for Windows XP in 2014, users were sitting ducks for cyber attacks and malware due to security weaknesses in the system no longer being patched. The fear is that the same will now happen for Windows 7 users.

How Windows 7’s End Of Life may affect business

Upgrading your business’ OS will cost you. But the security updates that come from a supported OS help protect devices from ransomware and other security threats. The cost of upgrading from a now unsupported Windows 7 isn’t the only budget consideration for organizations, though – if the software you’re using isn’t compatible with any Windows version above 7, then it needs replacing. And herein lies the extra cost. Not just in the software upgrade, but also in rolling it out and potentially training your workforce to use it.

It can be difficult to adopt change and obtain buy in from an entire organization used to operating in a certain way, but when the alternative is an unprotected system full of holes, it becomes an urgent necessity. Fortunately, there are ways to take the edge off the cost. The first and most obvious route to consider is the age of your hardware. If your hardware estate is ageing and due for a refresh then this will invariably come with Windows Professional OEM licensing and will solve a lot of the issues that you are facing. If a hardware refresh is not an option for your organization, there are alternative ways to mitigate some of the costs involved:

Utilize platform discounts: With a Microsoft Enterprise agreement, Windows 10 licenses are discounted when bought together with Office and Client Access License suites, and the cost can be spread over three years.

Kick start your digital transformation: Moving to a new, more flexible Operating System could be the excuse your organization needs to give users more freedom to work smarter. Microsoft 365 outsources email, intranet, and identity management to its cloud services, enabling BYOD and more.

Stream via App-V: There are important licensing implications with this option, but should your organization be large enough to subscribe to Software Assurance, MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack), includes App=V, which will allow for streaming of virtualized environments to a user’s desktop. This means users can access apps which are not compatible through Windows 10.

Software Asset Management’s role in upgrading from Windows 7

Software Asset Management, when executed effectively, gives organizations complete visibility of their software estate. Understanding what you’re working with, what’s deployed, and what’s being used should be the first port of call in getting your head around what software will need updating to meet your new OS specifications.

From a technical perspective, IT should simply be able to check with the software’s publisher (either within the documentation supplied at purchase, or simply via the vendors’ website) regarding compatibility. On a licensing level, it becomes more complicated; are existing licenses compatible with the upgrade? Will new ones need to be purchased? Are there free upgrades that can be used to save money? There’s also a user- vs device-based Windows License debate; which is the more cost-effective solution?

Post-upgrade, software asset management will keep track of consumption to prevent under- or over-licensing in the future and keep both costs and risk down.

Ben Eagling

Ben Eagling

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