It’s the ninth inning…the last minute of play in the third period…we have 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter…
Hopefully, these sports analogies speak for themselves—we don’t have much time left to deal with and prepare for Windows 7 “end of life.”
In January 2020, Microsoft, the maker of the Windows 7 operating system, will stop providing free security updates and support for Windows 7. (For some kiosks, you might have until October 2020—but the time to plan is now!) Without those updates, your system will be left unsupported, making your organization and its data vulnerable to security threats. To put it plainly: This is a cybersecurity and compliance risk.What does this mean?
Next steps and options
If your organization utilizes Windows 7 in any of its devices, there are some decisions to be made. To get you started:
Does your organization have a plan for device refresh? Has it budgeted for upgrades?
You’ll need to conduct an inventory of all devices still using the Windows 7 operating system.
Determine if you have any devices that can be upgraded to Windows 10 (some older hardware won’t meet minimum specs to do this).
Depending on what you learn in your investigation, there are three go-forward options to consider:
Your best and most cost-effective option may be to upgrade old hardware (and this may be your only option if your existing device can’t upgrade to Windows 10)
A secondary option is to upgrade to Windows 10 on existing hardware if possible. But make sure your organization has a refresh plan—older hardware won’t be optimal in terms of efficiency.
The last resort is to pay for extended support, which Microsoft has made available over the next three years (the cost increases per user, each year). This is a temporary solution at best if you need more time to budget for upgrades. Keep in mind, if you do choose this option, many of the applications you use aren’t backwards-compatible to older operating systems, so you could experience performance issues.
The bottom line
Your clinical teams need technology that works and that supports care delivery. You should act now to ensure you remain secure and compliant. Perhaps this is an opportunity to consider the move to mobile devices? There are options out there to help you make affordable choices. Just don’t be caught flat-footed. Be proactive and prepared!