As of 14 January this year, Microsoft stopped releasing automatic updates for the Windows 7 and Server 2008 Operating Systems (OS). This has been a long time coming as Microsoft announced the end of life for the OS when it released the product in October 2009. However, without updates, an operating system becomes exposed to greater risk from threats such as ransomware. While any business can choose to pay for extended security updates from Microsoft, the aim of switching to paid updates is to increase the cost of running older versions in order that it becomes a cheaper option for the businesses to upgrade. This deadline typically becomes the catalyst that forces businesses to finish their migrations to the latest versions so this is a natural point to consider your own IT estate.
For many IT teams, reviewing the estate to shed light on which Operating Systems are running can be a simple exercise of consulting their technology intelligence platform or their software asset management (SAM) system. If you don’t have this data, you will not have up to date information about how your IT team is managing the firm’s IT assets, so it’s worth asking some more questions.
Good cybersecurity means keeping track of where your data and assets are, as this can help you identify vulnerable systems or legacy equipment that should be retired. With regulations like GDPR bringing almost every employee device into scope, keeping track of assets is even more important. A live inventory of your IT assets, as provided by a technology intelligence platform or a SAM platform can satisfy both control 1 & 2 from the CIS top 20 security controls. It is interesting to note that knowing your inventory also the first item in the NIST Cybersecurity framework.
As you review your technology ecosystem, be sure you have a good understanding of not only what’s running but that you have the ability to act on anomalies or inefficiencies. With visibility and insights, changes like the Windows 7 and Server 2008 Operating Systems end of life/support will be easy to navigate and protect your business.
For ideas on how you can build out an effective IT asset management function to easily adapt to things like end of life or support deadlines, download our guide today.