One of the most commonly used reasons to upgrade to Windows 10, preferably before the Windows 7 End of Life, is the updated security it contains. But what exactly does that update mean? This isn’t just said to scare people into action, and it truly is in everyone’s best interest to upgrade to Windows 10 if they are currently using Windows 7. In this blog, we'll go over some of the benefits of upgrading to Windows 10, as well as clarify what the Windows 7 End of Life really means to your business. 

New Windows 10 Security Features 

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing ten years ago? What about the clothes you wore or the music you listened to? While that might not seem so long ago, both you and the world have changed quite a bit since then. That’s why many of the features from Windows 10 might seem so wild and new to those who are still on Windows 7, which also came out ten years ago. Here are a few of the major changes. 

Microsoft Passport 

The Microsoft ecosystem is vast and covers everything from Office to Skype. This is compounded with various apps available for Microsoft devices as well. Instead of creating a series of weak passwords (or rather, easy to remember), Passport allows you to use one strong password that will rule them all. The hope is to mitigate login time at the office to promote increased productivity. 

Windows Hello  

This is similar to Passport but geared more toward business. The most notable feature of this program is two-factor authentication, either by email or text, making sure that you need more than just a password to get access to your account. Get used to using two-factor authentication as it will become integrated into more logins from this point on. 

Secure Boot 

This is a great feature that is used when the computer is booted up. Upon start-up, Windows will only recognize programs with either Microsoft or the computer hardware’s signature. Even if you’d downloaded a bug somewhere along the way, once you reboot your computer, the malicious program, because it lacks credentials, will not be able to run and attempt to corrupt your computer. 

Enhances to Defender 

Windows Defender has been around for several years now, but in Windows 10 it gets some serious teeth. While we don’t recommend this and it’s probably not a good idea, many users have discontinued running a third-party anti-virus software and instead relied solely on Defender. In recent years, Defender has even gone so far as to include ransomware protection, which, if you follow the news, has become hugely important lately. As long as updates are done, Defender does a fine job of keeping the bad guys out. Though it’s not perfect by any means, so a second-party cybersecurity system is recommended. 

Now that you’re up-to-date on some of the new features for Windows 10, let’s take a look at how Windows 7 EOL can affect your business. 

End of Life 

The upcoming Windows 7 End of Life is a bit confusing for some as the term sounds more sad than informative. In a nutshell, this term means Microsoft is done with Windows 7. Since it first came out in 2009, Microsoft has released regular updates and patches for the software as well as allowing their tech support to assist in the event of any problems. Starting in January of 2020, that will no longer be the case. Although they will offer support at a charge for a few months after that date, there will be no more upgrades or patches. 

That being said, while you don’t have to upgrade, it would be a really bad idea not to.  This is where things start to get scary. 

Do I Really Need to Upgrade? 

There’s a reason why people don’t want to upgrade their Windows 7 machines other than money — they work great! After a string of failures, Windows 7 was lauded as fantastic because Microsoft finally got their act together and gave the public what they wanted. It also doesn’t help that the successor to Windows 7 — the cleverly named Windows 8 — was another dud that made adopters of 7 hold on tightly, until now. 

Asking a question like “what’s the worst that can happen if I don’t upgrade?” is like asking “what’s the worst that can happen if I don’t wear a seatbelt?” While chances are you won’t have a problem on a quick drive to the store, if you were to get into an accident, what would normally be an inconvenience could end up as a tragedy.  

Even with all the protections Windows 7 has now, people still get hacked. Just imagine what will happen once security flaws are no longer patched and hackers find ways around obsolete firewalls. It could realistically be a matter of weeks before a flood of viruses come streaming in to take advantage of the computers that are still running Windows 7. Currently, that’s 36% of all operating PCs that will be completely vulnerable come January 2020. That’s a target hackers will find too tempting to resist. 

It’s time to stop trying to recall what you were doing and where you were going ten years ago, and start asking yourself, “What’s going to take me ten years into the future?”