Why End Of Life Operating Systems Put Your Business In A Risky Situation

Why End Of Life Operating Systems Put Your Business In A Risky Situation 2560 1707 Brooks IT Services

Continuing to use operating systems that have reached their end of life may seem like no big deal. 

In reality, it’s setting you back in both time and resources.

Warranties end and security patches stop. You’re no longer able to update to the latest version. At this point, your operating system has reached the end of its life phase. 

You’re putting  yourself, your business, and your employees in a vulnerable situation when you use an end of life operating system. Expect productivity to slow and prepare for inevitable downtime. Moreover, you’ll be opening your network to hackers. These people’s goal is to install viruses, such as ransomware, spyware, malware, adware, and other malicious code, onto your computers. 

In the end, the cost of fixing these problems will be higher than upgrading your operating system now. To best protect your business, you need to understand why end of life operating systems put your business at risk. 

5 Reasons Why End Of Life Operating Systems Put Your Business In A Risky Situation

Although operating systems that have reached their end of life are slower, the real issue is the additional security risks. Remember that if you can’t update it, then you can’t trust it.

1. Software Becomes Incompatible 

Quality software is often optimized and released to users through updates. However, the optimization is created with the most recent operating systems in mind. 

If you are still using an end of life operating system, then it won’t be eligible for these releases. Your outdated operating system is simply not compatible. 

Other than investing in a new operating system, your only option is to continue running older applications. It’s important to realize that these applications and software will also soon be facing their end of life. Once this occurs, your system will be inoperable. 

Furthermore, once your operating system and applications become inoperable, things get more challenging. The task of moving your data to a new operating system will be lengthier and more tedious. 

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2. New Vulnerabilities Arise

On January 14, 2020, Microsoft officially transitioned Windows 7 into its end of life phase. For those without the means to update to Windows 10, Windows 7 was still operable. However, the automatic monthly security patches and other updates came to a halt. 

Users who chose to continue to use the operating system were putting themselves at risk. Without updates and security patches, the operating system became a free-for-all for hackers to install viruses and steal data. 

Since hackers are the international evil geniuses of the IT world, it’s important to be proactive in protecting yourself against them. Heard of ransomware attacks lately? It’s no joke. These hackers will hold your data hostage. There’s no way to trust they will ever return the data, even with payment. Our recommendation: do not give in to these demands. 

As in the case of the Colonial Pipeline, they paid the ransom. But in the end, they recovered data from their own backups. Plus, don’t expect the government to get involved on your behalf as they did with Colonial Pipeline. 

Don’t let yourself become a sitting duck for hackers. They are everywhere, and they will take you for everything you own. The longer you use an operating system at its end of life, the more vulnerable you are to the hackersphere.

3. Expenses Added To Your Bottom Line

When computer issues and viruses interfere with your ability to run your business, you’re in trouble. Operating systems that are post end of life can be quite expensive to repair. Dealing with lost or stolen data is only the beginning. 

As mentioned in The Guardian, “We saw how dangerous that can be when WannaCry took over unpatched PCs in the NHS and other places.” Although Microsoft did eventually release a patch for some outdated operating systems, this isn’t a game anyone should play.  

Keep in mind that afterward, you will no longer be able to reinstall the software on an end of life operating system. On top of paying for support and repairs, you’ll likely find the best course of action is to finally update your operating system. By this point, the only hope for a smooth transition is if you’re already using the cloud. 

Spend a little money now to prevent spending a lot of money to fix a problem down the road.

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4. You Won’t Meet Compliance Regulations

If you work in an industry with compliance regulations (finance, healthcare, legal, etc.), think twice before using an end of life operating system. 

For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was enacted to protect sensitive health information. It’s fair to say that anyone working in the realm of healthcare falls under HIPAA governance. To avoid a data breach of protected health information, entities must take certain steps to remain in compliance. Because an end of life operating system is severely vulnerable to hackers, a user would not be in compliance. 

According to PIM, “For healthcare organizations, regulatory compliance mandates the need to upgrade systems from unsupported software to avoid compliance violations.“

No matter your field of expertise, if you want to remain compliant, you must upgrade. An end of life operating system may result in fees and marks against your licensing. 

5. Poor Performance And Reduced Reliability

If you rely on your computer’s performance and reliability, then you don’t want to be using an end of life operating system. 

Aging systems break down more often than their newer counterparts. You also won’t receive security patches as weak spots are uncovered. When you hear “end of life,” it’s important to realize it means “end of support.”

Before you decide to put off upgrading, consider the effects the inevitable downtime will have on your business. It’s not a matter of if it will happen. Instead, the question is, when will your operating system get a virus and become unusable? 

If you hold off long enough, you will also risk losing all of your data. 

It’s much easier to transition to a new operating system if your old one is still accessible. 

Protect Your Business From Vulnerable Operating Systems

If the privacy, financial security, and success of your business is important to you, you need to update your system(s). 

It’s true that Mac-based computers tend to face security attacks less often than their Windows cousins. However, you still will run into many of the issues above by not being able to update your software. This is the case with any unsupported operating system. The downfall could cost you your business. 

You’ve worked too hard to hand it over to hackers. To protect your business from vulnerable operating systems, contact Brooks IT Services today. We’ll do a comprehensive check and ensure that you and your business are safe to proceed.