January 14. 2020 marks the date when Microsoft will end Extended Support for Windows 7. This means that after that date Microsoft will no longer issue software fixes and security updates. What to do now time is closing in on you?
Organizations still using critical software, like an operating system, after support has ended by the software vendor face quite some risks. Not only will these organizations be more vulnerable to security issues, there is an compliance risk too. Various NEN and ISO standards, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), demand ‘in support software’ to be compliant. And when applications and cloud services move forward, organizations can expect technical incompatibilities with legacy operating systems.
The most obvious way to avoid the risks is to perform an upgrade for desktops and laptops still running Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise. There are roughly three ways in how organizations can do that.
First is to enter into a Windows 10 Enterprise subscription through the Cloud Solution Provider Program. Those who choose this way will get a Windows 10 Professional perpetual upgrade license for free. So even when one would stop the subscription, the device can still run Windows 10 legally.
Second option is to buy Windows 10 Professional or Windows 10 Enterprise Upgrades through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Program (such as Open Value, MPSA or Enterprise Agreement).
Third option is migrate to Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure and stop using on-premises old Windows Systems. Admitted, this is not an upgrade but a change of IT strategy. But when organizations migrate to Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure, they never have to worry about upgrades again.
Extended Security Updates
For those organizations who are not able to upgrade, there is a fourth option: buy Extended Security Updates. With that, Microsoft will continue releasing security updates to keep running Windows 7 systems secure. Those ‘Windows 7 ESU’ can only be bought through a Microsoft Enterprise Agreements and with that it is only an option for larger organizations. Microsoft provides these Extended Security Options for a maximum of three years after the end of extended support date (i.e. January 14. 2020) and organizations have to pay per year. The ESU option is in fact not more than a stay of execution.
How about Windows Server?
Windows Server 2008 and 2008R2 will also reach end of extended security on January 14. 2020. The risks of keeping using these operating systems are the same. The solution how to avoid the risk not quite alike. A brief overview:
• Migrate legacy virtual machines to Azure and get up to three years of Extended Security Updates for free (!)
• Upgrade on-premises to Windows Server 2019 or 2016
• Buy Extended Security Updates
When upgrading Windows Servers to a higher version, please do not forget to upgrade your Client Access Licenses as well.
Might you want to know what impact migrating virtual machines and workloads to Azure have, a Solution Assessment can help you figure that out. Please see our knowledge article on Microsoft Solution Assessments and let us help you. Please do contact us for more information on that or for help avoiding upcoming Windows 7 end of extended support issues.