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Grow Your Business Security

Microsoft to Businesses: Upgrade to Windows 10 or Face Serious Security Risks

Windows 7 Security Microsoft kicked off a three-year countdown to end support for Windows 7.

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. 

Brett Nuckles

A former Ohio newspaper man, Brett Nuckles fled the Midwest in 2013. He now lives in Seattle, where he spends his days tinkering with smartphones, tablets and computers. He loves to think about the intersection of technology and productivity, and how to get the most out of new gadgets and apps. He's also a big fan of vegetarian food and digital painting. In his off hours he spends most of his time drawing and painting sci-fi/fantasy scenes on his PC with his trusty Wacom stylus in hand.