What the Windows 7 End of Life Means for Your Business

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2020 is fast approaching, one anticipated date looms large on the calendar: the end of life for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. “End of life” describes the end of support for a hardware or software product, meaning the developer (in this case, Microsoft) will no longer issue security patches or fix flaws and bugs. You can still run the Windows 7 operating system — but at your own risk.

Why talk about this now? As you start to plan your budget for 2019/20 financial year, consider factoring in the cost of upgrading or replacing any desktop or laptop running Windows 7. Because of the early end of life date in 2020, any upgrades or replacements should be rolling several months before January 14. That gives your company time to work with a trusted IT provider to transition smoothly and avoid any down time or interruptions.

Should I upgrade or replace? The general rule of thumb for business computers is that anything more than three years old should probably be replaced, while any less than two years old is safe for an upgrade. This scenario will be different for each business, with several factors — computing speed needs, graphic capabilities, hard drive requirements, and more — coming in to play.

Do I really need to take action? When Microsoft ended support for its popular Windows XP operating system in 2014, it affected 40% of the world’s estimated one billion computers. But change arrived slowly, even with a long rollout and multiple security announcements. Four years later, Business Insider estimates that up to 7% of the world’s computers still use Windows XP, even though several ransomware attacks (most notably WannaCry) have targeted legacy XP systems.

Why does it take some businesses so long to adapt to end of life announcements? Many reasons, all of which will be familiar to any business owner: the expense and the time-consuming work required to update and upgrade computers, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. The use of important legacy software that relies on an outdated operating system. Older equipment that may not respond well to the system requirements necessary for an upgrade to a new operating system. The time and expense required to training employees to use new systems.

That’s why advance planning and the assistance of a trusted IT advisor is key. Many security experts estimate that Windows 7 is used by more computers than any other operating system, with the current standard, Windows 10, coming in second place. Navigating the impending end of life deadline for Windows 7 will require a smart strategy that takes cost, time, and security into consideration. Conducting an assessment of your company’s current infrastructure is the key first step to identifying any coming vulnerabilities.

Other key components to consider:

  • Identify machines that need to be upgraded or replaced

  • Identify legacy software that runs on older operating systems

  • Develop a timeline for any upgrades or replacements

  • Build any upgrades or replacements into 2019 budget

  • Isolate any systems that will continue to run Windows 7 from other secure machines

  • Plan for necessary employee training

If you have any questions or need more information about the coming end of life for Windows 7, contact Infotech today. We’ve helped our clients navigate situations just like this one, and we understand what businesses need to survive and thrive in today’s challenging cybersecurity environment. Infotech provides responsive, professional support that ensures efficient, safe, and reliable IT operations.

3 Reasons To Invest in a Strong, Trusted Backup Solution

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A backup solution is like an insurance policy for your business. Data loss is a serious – and often devastating – problem for organizations. A good backup solution in place means less worry and hassle for you and your business… and it is protection against costly threats in the future that might otherwise harm your reputation, impair your ability to function, or put you out of business altogether.

Here are some reasons you should consider a backup solution.

BACKED UP DATA IS SAFE FROM RANSOMWARE THREATS

Ransomware and other types of cyberattacks are increasingly common – and small to medium sized businesses are a huge target. Ransomware is a leading form of attack on SMBs.

Symantec’s 2019 Internet Security Report showed that ransomware targeted at businesses (rather than consumers) went up by 12% in 2018, and that 81% of ransomware infections overall were targeting businesses.

How do you protect yourself if your business’s data is corrupted, deleted, or held hostage by a cyberattack? Have a complete encrypted backup of your critical data. Don’t pay the ransom to “free” your data – restore your data from your own backups.

OFF-SITE BACKUP PRESERVES DATA IN CASE OF CATASTROPHES AND HARDWARE FAILURE

Catastrophes happen. A lightning strike can fry all the hardware in your office, including your server. Floods, storms, fires, and more can destroy your physical IT infrastructure and make it impossible to recover your critical data. And in less doomsday scenarios, even a single failed server hard drive could cause data loss.

The best security measure you can take to protect yourself from the threat of natural disasters and hardware failures is off-site backup storage. Data backup gives you peace of mind knowing that no matter what happens locally, copies of your data backup recoverable from off-site and cloud storage.

But remember: Disaster recovery isn’t just about having a data backup solution. It’s also about how quickly and painlessly you can restore your data and systems. A true disaster recovery and business continuity solution will provide you with local and off-site backup storage, in addition to features like virtual recovery in the cloud, to get you up to speed again.

When building or choosing a backup solution for disaster recovery, consider the 3-2-1 Rule3 copies of your data (1 primary and 2 backup), 2 media storage types, and 1 off-site backup.

FILE RECOVERY HELPS FIX ACCIDENTS AND MISTAKES

This last reason may seem deceptively simple, but who hasn’t had their day ruined when they realized they deleted a critical file by accident? Accidents and mistakes happen. Even a simple file/folder backup solution that allows for granular file recovery or version rollback can save the day.

If a folder on your file server goes missing, a backup solution is the answer to restoring your data, with little hassles and without wasting hours recreating or searching for those files.

WHO NEEDS A BACKUP SOLUTION?

Does everyone need a backup solution though? Yes. The bottom line is that data backup is an absolutely essential security defense for any business or organization. Your critical business data should be secured and backed up at all times.

Is your IT partner best practice? 10 ways to tell.  

Expert IT support is critical to business growth and success. With the pace of change and innovation in IT at an all-time high, companies who don’t have expert partners to help them grow and stay up-to-date with the latest technology, client solutions and services, will get left behind.

Best practice IT is also critical when times are tough. When the unthinkable happens, like outages, missing data or security breaches, the last thing you want is average IT support bumbling their way through. So how do you know if you’ve got average or expert IT support? Well, the best in IT will offer you the 10 services below.

10 best-practice services only offered by the best in IT

 1.     The highest standard of security. You’re set up with a current, secure IT system as a priority. Your businesses data, productivity and overall security are in safe hands, minimising business risks and alleviating stress.

2.     A genuine customer-first service. You can call on your IT partner anytime, anywhere. They monitor your system and support your business around the clock.

3.     Rapid resolution and problem solving. The technical problem solving and proactive IT support of your partner means you get rapid-fire responses to high-priority issues. Nothing falls through the cracks. Your tickets are resolved quickly and issues have gone down.

4.     A strategy based on your needs. Your IT partner asks the right questions about your business and objectives, then customises solutions for you. They work together with you to create a vision and strategic plan for your IT investment.

5.     A partnership. You see your IT team as less of a provider and more of a partner. They want to know where you’re heading and care about helping you to meet your bigger picture business goals.

6.     Future-proof solutions. Things change fast in IT, so your IT partner should be at the cutting-edge of business information technology. They ensure your business is two steps ahead when it comes to the latest updates, advances and innovations, and all within a long-term IT plan.

7.     Exceptional operations. Your provider should meet with you quarterly to discuss new technology, systems, budgets, issues, key business decisions and upcoming projects. Day-to-day operations are smooth and you wonder how you ever did without it.

8.     Counsel and advice for you as CEO. Your provider has formed a strong relationships with you as the CEO. They provide expert counsel and guidance whenever you need, because you’re the boss.

9.     A seamless transition. Your IT team make sure any transitions from other IT providers, platforms, software or technology are seamless.

10.   Confidence and peace of mind. If you have a truly expert partner taking care of IT, suddenly the security concerns, issues and worries about the future all fade away.

 

If you’re getting all of these services from your current provider or partner, you know they’re experts. And if you’re not, you may be working with an average provider. Your business deserves the best. If you suspect you’re getting below-average services and solutions, it might be time you switched to strategic, responsive IT.

Call Infotech today on 02 6041 1552 and have a chat with our experts.