Is it safe to use Windows 7? And how the cloud can help you replace it

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According to data from January 2018, over 42% of desktop and laptop computers are still running Windows 7, compared with just 35% running the latest version, Windows 10. You may not be aware that this is a problem, but remember that Windows 7 is now a nine-year-old operating system, with a codebase reaching all the way back to Windows NT in the early 2000’s. There are students starting university this year who were not even born when the foundations of Windows 7 were written. In computing terms, that’s not just old; it’s positively prehistoric!

Why does it matter?

Using an out of date operating system means that your business’s computers are not protected by the best available security measures, which are only available on modern, up-to-date systems. It does not matter how effective your anti-virus software is, and even the best AV software can surprisingly make your computer less secure, rather than more. An out of date system can never be a safe system.

Threats of an out-of-date operating system

Leaving aside that an operating system as out-of-date as Windows 7 is unlikely to be compatible with most new or updated software, it is also at risk from severe security flaws, including:

Ransomware

Recent ransomware attacks have focused on exploiting security vulnerabilities in older, out-of-date, operating systems. Ransomware attacks are especially dangerous for businesses as they can stop you accessing – or even destroy altogether – your most valuable asset: your data. Last year’s WannaCry attack on the UK National Health Service is one example of such an issue which was directly attributable to corporate users continuing to use computers with out-of-date operating systems.

Malware

Computer viruses as they used to be – trojans, worms, etc. – are less of an issue now that criminals are utilising more advanced forms of malware (malicious software) to achieve their aims. Some particularly insidious kinds of malware can sit silently on a computer, reading all of a user’s keystrokes, and then send their usernames, passwords, and the content of any documents they are writing, back to the criminals to use as they wish. Malware like this is a significant source of information for organised crime gangs to commit financial fraud and identity theft, and it is vital for your organisation to prevent it.

Data loss

Possibly most topically, any form of compromise to your business’s computing systems could result in the loss of customer data or the theft of that data by a third party. With the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation on 25th May, this could cost your business €20,000,000 or more for a single data breach.

How can cloud services help?

Virtual desktops such as Office365, or a more comprehensive solution which allows access to a full range of applications such as Citrix XenDesktop, can support all of your staff to work on a secure, modern, up-to-date operating system. Additionally, because these solutions can be used on lower-specification hardware than a full install of Windows 10, your business could dave significant capital costs.

 

If you’re looking for an excellent IT support service in Glasgow, look no further. From traditional repair and management of support to cloud services, we can provide everything you need to ensure your business is kept up and running. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for your business.

 

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