Windows 7 has Reached its End of Life
Windows 7 reached its “end of life” yesterday. This means that from today forward, Microsoft will no longer be supporting this product.
When products are in a supported state, Microsoft continues to develop and deploy essential security updates and patches to keep hackers at bay, and to make sure everything is running as it should.
But once end of life is reached, all those efforts cease. As a result, the product will become increasingly vulnerable to bugs, glitches, and emerging cybersecurity threats. And, users are left with a product that grows more obsolete and riskier to operate by the day.
Just because Windows 7 is dead in the eyes of Microsoft doesn’t mean it has stopped functioning. In fact, according to NetMarketShare, roughly 27% of desktops and laptops still in use are running Windows 7. That’s down about 10% from January, 2019.
But those who continue to use the product are less safe today than they were yesterday, because Microsoft is no longer updating the software to address viruses and security vulnerabilities. Of course, this fact also makes Windows 7 an even more attractive target for hackers, knowing that Microsoft is not putting any more time or effort into addressing new attacks that may be developed and launched.
Running any software program after its end of life date poses a security risk. But some organizations still need to use Windows 7 to run legacy software programs. If that is necessary, those machines should not be connected to the internet or an organization’s network, as this creates a known risk to data residing on the network. Organizations should avoid using removable media and portable storage devices with machines running Windows 7 as well.
From a HIPAA standpoint, running computers with outdated software presents a risk to the confidentiality, integrity and availability of ePHI as specified in under 45 C.F.R. § 164.308(a)(1)(i)(A). Addressing the risk posed would be subject to risk management security measures under 45 C.F.R. § 164.308(a)(1)(i)(B).
Office 2010 is on Life Support
All Microsoft products have a finite life cycle; typically, it’s 10 years. Microsoft users should be aware that Office 2010 is fast approaching its end of life date as well; it’s October 13, 2020. This date applies to all versions of Office 2010. Users can check the product support life cycle of any Microsoft product on their website. The site also provides suggested migration paths depending on the product and needs of the user.