The End is Nigh (If you're Windows 7 or 2008) or is it?
You may have seen this numerous times of the last few months but with with only 6 months to go and the summer season in full flow it's time to take stock of this impending event.
Microsoft will stop security updates for Windows 7 & Server 2008 Family in January 2020 (SQL 2008 ends on the 9th of July this year!), So here are some pointers for small businesses to check and hopefully save them costs.
Windows 7 Machines
First thing to check is are they actually Windows 10 machines, that were downgraded, if so they will be able to be upgraded back to Windows 10 for no licencing fees (Windows 10 was released in 2015 but most PC's had Windows 7 on until around 2017). Bear in mind the age of the machine, as a slow machine can cost more in productivity than a new PC costs over around an 8 month period. If the machine could be re-utilised though in a less intense area of the business this could soften the blow of mass replacement.
Remember that when XP expired, the last minute rush caused PC cost increases and long lead times for install.
If you haven't got any Windows 10 machines on your network already, compatibility testing will need to be done before mass roll out.
There are still many SBS 2008/2011 servers in use, these although slow were great value business servers to the SME market and were the last in this series, Microsoft replaced this with Server Essentials but does not include an Exchange server and is limited to 25 users. They are recommending that small businesses go down the Microsoft 365 route, this is an excellent choice if you don't have any centralised applications such SQL server based applications, another is Sage 50 Cloud which believe it or not is actually not cloud software but requires local machines to run the database. Microsoft 365 is Office 365 on steroids and includes Identity and Access management features, device control, compliance features and much more. You can create centralised file sharing through SharePoint and also policies that force user files into OneDrive For Business meaning all of your data can be cloud based. The advancements in this product over the last year make it a near identical user experience with no web browser needed to function efficiently. Security is also good if set up correctly and companies can have a complete overview of where their data is and how it is used.
There are options for extending support for Win7 & 2008 but these are prohibitively expensive. So it is time now to get your plans into action, there will be a huge security risk to your network if it isn't done in a timely fashion. Please contact me if you would like independent assessment of your network on how to proceed.