Microsoft has announced that they will stop the extended support on Windows 7 until January 2020. After January 15, 2020, both updates and support will be completely finished.
It is an announcement that unfortunately gets behind many. 69% of smaller SMEs * are currently not aware at all that support is ending on Win7, and less than 30% have concrete plans * to meet the future challenge.
Microsoft stopped its normal support on Windows 7 back in 2015, and since then they have offered extended support (which is the one that now also smokes until January 2020).
There are two things worth noting in that context, I think.
First of all: If you back in 2015 and until now have not signed an extended support agreement - yes, then you are running on a Windows 7 that has not been patched since 2015! And with the speed with which security threats are growing year by year, your current Windows 7 is likely to be a sieve, both in terms of security and the overall fitness level of the platform.
Secondly, Microsoft has given a rather long warning that one could manage to get away from the platform. However, this is not the same as saying that you are necessarily ready to move your IT environment to a modern platform - obviously Windows 10.
Some will argue that it costs the coffers to change operating system. And it does - especially if you look at your business case and Windows 7 like that, why change something that works? As long as it goes, it goes…
But in my view, the business case is different: Do you dare to take the risk purely in terms of safety? What risk picture do you have as a company in relation to the applications and the part of your business that may be affected by a vulnerability in Windows 7?
Another angle on the business case is also the math behind the question: What does it cost to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10? The less complicated and critical applications such as switching from the Office suite to O365 are quite simple to go to. But at some point, you hit the completely complex and critical business applications, where it's not just a matter of fingers to switch from Windows 7 to 10 - neither IT-technical nor financial.
I still believe that this change can also prove to be a positive business case for you - if you see the broader perspective that lies beyond the Windows platform itself, and take into account the potential savings you can achieve by simultaneously automating and optimize your business processes. You can not be competitive by letting your most critical business applications build on outdated technology.
Take an offensive approach and start with what your business can or should look like in the future - instead of continuing to give artificial respiration to the past by defensively patching Windows 7. Map your application landscape and business processes and find out, how your IT roadmap should look in the future.
It's not 'just' an upgrade you need to deal with - so get started now! You can not afford to wait. And you can not afford not to.
* Microsoft SMB PC Study, TechAisle, July 2018 // Windows 7 End Of Service Research, April 2018, Microsoft Corporation