Attention all businesses: Upgrade from Windows 7 or risk serious security consequences. That's the message Microsoft is sending this week with the news that extended support for the 8-year-old operating system is set to end in 2020.
In other words, the Windows 7 operating system will stop receiving security patches altogether on Jan. 13, 2020. Companies that haven't updated to Windows 10 will leave themselves vulnerable to malware attacks that the newer operating system can easily fend off. In fact, Microsoft recently published a report showing that Windows 10 Anniversary Update — the most current iteration of the OS — could neutralize two zero-day security exploits, even without the patches that have been needed to protect Windows 7 and other, earlier versions of Windows.
But despite the three-year cushion before support ends completely, companies might not want to wait until 2020 to make the switch. That's because other support services are halting even sooner. Specifically, zero-day protection for Windows 7 via Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit is set to end July 31, 2018.
Patches aside, there are plenty of other ways that Windows 10 is more secure than its predecessors. The operating system supports Windows Hello biometric logins, which let you (or your employees) securely sign onto PCs using fingerprints or facial recognition. You also get Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection — which helps businesses detect, investigate and respond to attacks — built in. And the Creators Update, which is coming soon, brings even more security enhancements.