This past January 14, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7. Now, it’s time for businesses, as well as their customers, to bid the operating system a fond farewell, because the era of using Windows 7 for online banking is over.
This advice isn’t coming directly from E-Complish—although we wholeheartedly endorse it. Rather, it’s the word of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC. The rationale: While computers running Windows 7 will continue to function after January 14, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for any Windows 7 glitches its users may encounter. The technology giant has also stopped issuing software updates, security updates, and fixes.
Such a turn of events means that performing online banking processes with Windows 7 as an operating system makes businesses and consumers “extremely vulnerable” to cyber-attacks, according to the NCSC. Utilizing computers that still run Windows 7 to transmit emails containing sensitive bank account information, or to otherwise access bank accounts, has an identical effect.
If NCSC’s figures are correct, the number of Windows 7 users worldwide exceeds 440 million—even though the operating system was introduced more than a decade ago (in 2009, to be exact) and newer versions have long been available. The organization is urging these users to upgrade any devices that currently run Windows 7 to a newer operating system, so that they may continue to receive software updates that help to protect their devices and guard against data breaches.
For businesses, migrating away from Windows 7 will come with a price tag, especially if their software also needs replacing because it is incompatible with any version of Windows above version 7. However, the investment is worthwhile given the security updates that accompany a supported operating system. All such upgrades guard against ransomware and other threats to systems and data integrity.
Another consideration: Microsoft will, the NCSC reports, continue to provide patches for Windows 7 on a “per-machine” basis in a move to accommodate organizations that are currently unable to embark on a migration path. However, the agency notes that if the previous Microsoft “model” is any indication, accepting patches as an alternative to migration away from Windows 7 could become a prohibitively expensive proposition, “as the price increases yearly.” Moving to newer, supported systems is a more financially favorable course of action for businesses, the NCSC says.
For consumers, though, there’s a bit of good news businesses may want to pass on to their customers: As of mid-January, upgrades to Windows 10 were still free to individuals.
To learn more about protecting the integrity of customers’ data, click here.