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Major Microsoft Products Are Reaching End Of Life

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Why does that actually matter?


Is your business still using Windows 7 computers? If so, you should really think about upgrading, because 18 months from now, it’s going to reach end of life status – and it’s only one of a few Microsoft products that will no longer be supported.

On 14th January 2020, as well as Windows 7, Microsoft will pull the plug on Windows 2008/2008 R2 Server, Exchange 2010 and all SBS Server products, including the 2011 edition. Then Office 2010 will also go end-of-life, on 13th October 2020. And if you’re using SQL Server 2008/2008 R2, then you have even less time to find an alternative or upgrade, because support will end on 7th September 2019.

What Does End Of Life Mean?

It’s worth noting that even after mainstream support ends for its products, Microsoft doesn’t immediately stop supporting its business customers as well. Instead, they enter an extended support period, during which they can continue to receive phone and online support if they pay for it, while everyone continues to get free security updates.

However, Windows 7, Windows 2008 Server and all the other products we’ve mentioned here are already in that extended support phase, so this really is the end for them. After these dates, there will be no support at all, including security updates.

Windows 10 - not end of life like Windows 7
If you haven’t already upgraded to Windows 10, time is running out.

That, as you can imagine, is a huge security risk. Although these operating systems are generally secure, thanks to years of patching and tweaking to bolster their defences, they may still have vulnerabilities that have yet to be discovered. Or, indeed, hackers may have found weak points to exploit but are waiting for support to end before unleashing malware that takes advantage of them.

Without continued support, these security issues will remain unresolved. As well as putting you at increased risk of computer viruses and ransomware, out-of-date systems could potentially get you in trouble with the authorities if personal data is compromised. As part of GDPR, organisations are expected to have sufficient technology and cyber security to reduce the chances of being hacked. Running your business using unsupported software is exactly the kind of thing you shouldn’t be doing, and could be considered wilfully negligent enough to attract a fine from the ICO.

The financial hit from a cyber attack, the subsequent downtime and a possible fine might be enough to send your business over the edge, but even if you survive that, the pain might not be over. Losing your customers’ data is a sure-fire way to lose their trust, and that’s something that might not ever be regained. Some will inevitably take their business elsewhere.

Next Steps

The solution, of course, is to upgrade. Windows 7 users, for example, should move to Windows 10, while Office 2010 customers can go to Office 2019 or sign up to Microsoft’s subscription and cloud-based Office 365 package.

Not only does upgrading bring greater security, it also offers access to powerful new features and functionality that simply aren’t available in the older software. These can have real business benefits, aiding workflows, communication and efficiency within organisations.

These advantages haven’t gone unnoticed. Millions of users and businesses around the world have already upgraded to the latest Microsoft solutions, with around a third of the OS market being taken up by Windows 10, for example.

But it’s older solutions that continue to dominate. Windows 7 is still the world’s most popular operating system, and the server market is led by the 2008 and 2012 editions of Windows Server. It’s only Office 365 that has so far succeeded in persuading businesses to move on. No doubt the flexibility, the value and the sheer number of apps you get for your money have skyrocketed Office 365 to the top. With operating systems, it’s not such an easy sell for Microsoft. After all, if your computers and servers are still running okay, why change them?

The truth is Windows 7 and 2008 Server were great at what they did, so it’s no surprise they’ve stood the test of time. But realistically, Microsoft can’t support them forever, and new technologies need new software to take advantage of them. Trying to pretend otherwise might save you some money in the short term, but in the long run, businesses don’t do themselves any favours by clinging on to the past.

18 months might sound like a long time, but if you don’t start planning now, you could find it comes around sooner than you expect.


You can keep track of exactly many days are left until these Microsoft products reach end of life. Just head to www.tmb.co.uk/windows-office-upgrade.

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TMB Privacy Policy

Why do we hold personal data?

Like any business, TMB Group has to keep personal data about staff, clients and potential customers. When you fill in the contact form on our website, for example, we need to keep a record so we can get back to you. Data is also held so we can deliver our services and so we can provide useful information, such as security update news.

What data do we keep?
Depending on our relationship with you, we’ll hold information such as your first and last names, your email address, your phone number and your postal address. We will also possibly have details about your business and those who work for you. If you’re a customer, then we may have some of your banking detail so we’re able to accept payments for the services we provide.

How is your data stored?

As a responsible IT company, TMB stores personal data on secured computer systems. Anything that is archived will be placed on encrypted drives.

We do use third-party customer management software, Autotask, which means data may be stored on their servers, but only the data we need to deliver our services. The same goes for the Microsoft services we use, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which store information on Microsoft’s cloud servers. We also use Mailchimp for marketing purposes: to send emails and to manage subscriber lists.

These third parties are not permitted to share your data or to use it for marketing purposes. You can find Autotask’s privacy policy here: https://www.autotask.com/privacy-policy. Microsoft’s privacy policy for Office 365 is here: https://www.microsoft.com/online/legal/v2/?docid=43. Mailchimp’s policy is here: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy.

How long do we keep your data?

We will keep your data in our systems until it is no longer relevant to our business, but you can request that we remove or update it at any time. We will also inform any relevant third parties of your request.

Access to your information

The key thing to remember is that your data belongs to you. That means you can request copies of your personal data any time you like, or to access and update it. You also have the right to be forgotten, so if you ask that we delete your data, we will do so or provide a valid reason why we are unable to. We will, of course, require proof of your identity before addressing any such request.

Depending on your request, your information may be provided to you electronically. In such cases, it will be provided in a commonly used format.

Unsubscribing and deletion

Unsubscribing is not the same as a request for us to delete personal data. If, for example, you unsubscribe from a mailing list, it is necessary to keep your email address on record to prevent marketing email from being sent to you. If we were to delete that information, we would have no way to tell if you have unsubscribed. Nevertheless, you still have the right to request erasure of your personal data.

Your right to complain

If, for any reason, you are unhappy with the way your personal data is treated by us, you have the right to complain to a supervisory authority. In the UK, that would be the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Website analytics

Anyone who visits our website will automatically have data about them collected via Google Analytics. This gives us broad information about what people are doing on our website and which pages they are looking at. It does not provide us with personal information that could be used to identify individuals.

Cookies

Cookies are small text files that web browsers receive from websites. They are stored on your computer, and they enable sites to do things like remember if you’ve visited before, if you’re a customer, what your preferences are and so on. You are entitled to view our website without them, but you may lose this kind of functionality if you do so.

International data transfers

Information that we collect may be stored and processed in and transferred between any of the countries in which we operate in order to enable us to use the information in accordance with this privacy policy.

Data controllers and processors

TMB is the controller for marketing activity and personal data/special category data we hold on our own employees, but we are the processor when processing our customers’ personal data (e.g. buying a licence for a named individual).  We  may use sub-processors for processing data given to us by customers.

What we won’t ever do is sell your data. And if you sign up to our mailing list, you’ll only receive marketing material from TMB as a result – no one else.

For any questions regarding your data, contact TMB’s technical director, Richard Shuker, at info@tmb.co.uk or write to us at A1 Endeavour Business Park, Penner Road, Havant, Hampshire, PO9 1QN..