Windows 7 Support is Ending Soon, and Most Businesses are Woefully Unprepared

The news that Microsoft will be discontinuing its free support of Windows 7 in January 2020 is hardly new, but it isn’t creating the stir one might expect.

According to research from SpiceWorks, around 79 percent of organizations have at least one Windows XP device on their networks. Two-thirds of these companies are preparing to migrate over to an updated system before the January 14 deadline, but at least one quarter aren’t ready to make the move before Microsoft’s support ends.

Where does this leave Microsoft, and its users, heading into January 2020? Gartner predicts that only 75 percent of professional PCs will be running on Windows 10 by 2021, leaving room for competitors, like Apple, or businesses continuing to run on still-in-support Windows systems. But outside of this, the main issue remains the issue of security.

The risks accompanying unsupported software systems, like Windows 7 is about to become, are at the forefront of many business owners’ minds. Spiceworks reported that IT decision-makers cited their primary concerns as insider data leaks (27 percent), zero-day attacks (18 percent), attacks on IoT devices (17 percent), and supply-chain attacks, DDoS attacks, and crypto-jacking (all tying with 15 percent each). The most alarming statistic is that under 20 percent of businesses consider themselves “completely prepared” for cyber attacks.

The question of what will happen to unsupported Windows 7 users after January 14, 2020, remains to be seen. Will Microsoft come to the rescue of organizations that are at risk due to a lack of support, but can’t pay for continued support? Or will more businesses hasten to transfer their operating systems away from Windows 7 before or immediately after the January 14 date?

Sources: TechRepublic, Microsoft, Spiceworks, Gartner