The most important date in an operating system or other technology product’s life is the end of life (EOL). This is when a product stops receiving all support, including security patches and updates.
For Windows products, it’s typically around 10 years after the initial release and comes in two phases:
- End of mainstream support (security patches & paid support still available)
- End of extended support (all support stops)
There are two very popular Windows products that are just months away from their EOL, the Windows 7 operating system and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2.
As part of our IT managed services for businesses throughout North and Central New Jersey, Union County and Middlesex County, Technology Visionaries ensures that all updates and security patches are installed on network and devices in a timely manner and we give clients a significant advance notice of an EOL date for any products they may be using.
Both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 will cease support on January 14, 2020.
What does the EOL date for these Windows products mean for your business? Can you keep on using them even after January 14, 2020? How can you prepare?
We’ve got all those answers coming up!
What Does EOL Mean for a Windows Product?
You can often tell when a Windows product is reaching its end of extended support date because users will begin upgrading in droves right before the support runs out.
Here’s an example from Statcounter below of how Windows 10 has been gaining significant ground over the popular Windows 7, March 2018 through March 2019, due to the EOL date for 7 approaching fast.
Can I Still Use Windows Products After the EOL?
Technically you can use them, but you’re taking an enormous risk. And if you’re a business, you will most likely be out of compliance with data privacy regulations by using a no longer supported product.
While a product is still under extended support, which is the case for both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 until January 14, 2020, you still have the following support services:
- Security updates
- Paid support availability
- Non-security updates
This is why many businesses will still continue to use these products after mainstream support ends.
But once extended support ends, you lose all support. This means that any security vulnerabilities will no longer be patched and your system will be at great risk of being hacked.
Another disadvantage of using a product past its EOL date is that as new software applications and peripherals come out, they may not be compatible with the older products.
What Should Your Business Do to Prepare Before January 2020?
The good news is that you have time to prepare and upgrade before Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 are put out to pasture and lose all security and support.
Here are some tips to help you with a strategy to ensure your devices and network stay safe and you’ve upgraded older copies of these Windows products before the deadline.
Take an Inventory of Your Equipment
First, you’ll want to make an inventory of any computers that are running Windows 7 and servers that are running Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2. This will let you know the scope of the updates that you need to make.
For Windows Server 2008: Inventory Apps & Server Roles
For a smooth migration, you’ll want to ensure you have a complete inventory of all applications and server roles being run on your current server.
Identify Equipment to Retire
Of those devices running the soon to be EOL Windows products, decide which ones are too old to upgrade and need to be replaced. This replacement cost can be included in your upgrade budget.
Price Out the Upgrades
For Windows 7, you’ll be upgrading devices to Windows 10.
For Windows Server 2008, you’ll need to decide whether to upgrade to Azure (cloud) or Windows Server 2016 (on-premise).
Create a Budget and Timeline
With several months left before the EOL date, you have the option of dividing the upgrades by month and doing a few at a time to spread out the costs.
You’ll want to include the following in your timeline and budget:
- Hardware that needs to be replaced
- Upgrade cost to the newer Windows products
- IT support to help with migration, upgrades, and training
Implement Employee Training
You’ll want your team to hit the ground running when it comes to working with the new products, so it’s a good idea to include employee training in your timeline. This will ensure it’s not overlooked during the upgrade process and disruption can be minimized during the switch.
Get Help with a Windows Product Upgrade
Whether you’re going to be migrating a server or need several PCs upgraded from Windows 7, Technology Visionaries can make the process as painless as possible. We can help you with a budget, timeline, and smooth rollout.
Contact us today to discuss a Windows upgrade at 732-587-5960 or reach out online.