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Every product has a life cycle. For example, the software product life cycle starts with initial development, goes to general availability, and ends with a final stage where product support ends and the software is retired. This retirement or "end of life" (EOL) is the point where the software developer can no longer bear the increasing costs for maintaining security updates and customer service for the product. One of the most widely-used software products in history, Microsoft Windows 7, is quickly approaching its EOL date—January 14, 2020—and some businesses are feeling anxious about their next steps.
According to NetMarketShare statistics for January 2019, computers running the venerable Windows 7 operating system still account for over one third (37%) of all users. Considering the Windows 7 mainstream support ended in January 2015, it's likely that the majority of these are business users. Like many other companies that offer products for both mainstream (think "retail") consumers and businesses, Microsoft offers an extended level of product support for business customers. The extended support for Windows 7 will end in January 2020. With an estimated one billion computers worldwide, you don't have to be a mathematician to understand the astronomical number of Windows 7 users out there facing EOL.
The consequences of ignoring the Windows 7 EOL
You might wonder: So what? Nobody believes that their Windows 7 computer will darken at midnight on January 14, 2020 and refuse to connect to the internet. Some business owners could be tempted to ignore the EOL warning due to the expense and the time-consuming work required to physically upgrade their computers to the preferred successor operating system, Windows 10. While the difference between how Windows 7 and Windows 10 is not drastic, they are significant enough to require retraining employees on some tasks—another expense in terms of time, effort, and money. So, if your computers are still going to work on January 15, 2020 and you want to save money/time, then why not just keep Windows 7 and ignore the EOL warning?
The simple answer: Your business will be the victim of a cybersecurity attack. Not "it could happen" but "it will happen" if you decide to stick with Windows 7 at your business. That's because hackers know there are 300 million Windows 7 computers out there that will stop receiving regular security updates from Microsoft after January 14, 2020. The EOL date is like Christmas Day for hackers where they open the gift of 300 million newly-vulnerable Windows 7 computers and take whatever they want from them. Cybersecurity is the key reason for the vast majority of businesses to upgrade to Windows 10.
Microsoft 365 makes upgrading easier
Upgrading to any new operating system always takes time and planning. But the advances in cloud technology Microsoft has made in recent years can help ease your company's transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10. No matter the size of the organization, Amaxra has found that the simplest, most cost-effective solution for companies facing a Windows 7 EOL upgrade is Microsoft 365.
First introduced in 2017, Microsoft 365 is a turnkey and all-inclusive subscription service that bundles the Windows 10 operating system with Office 365 apps and then ties it all together with cloud-based cybersecurity. Microsoft 365 is the perfect solution for businesses to secure their IT at scale because everyone in the organization is standardized on a single platform that includes the latest versions of Windows and Office apps.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, . What our expert consultants have learned from our deployments of Microsoft 365 is that:Amaxra was an early adopter of Microsoft 365. What our expert consultants have learned from our deployments of Microsoft 365 is that:
- Customers with older, on-premise only versions of Microsoft Office commented on how much they benefitted by upgrading to the new cloud-powered Office 365 apps that come standard with Microsoft 365. Most of our Microsoft 365 customers noted that the ability to have access to all Office 365 and documents instantly available on up to five different devices per user measurably increased their organizational efficiency
- Those same customers with PCs running Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise got a free in-place upgrade to Windows 10 Professional that was relatively smooth. An in-place upgrade is when the PC's operating system is upgraded without altering any of the user documents or settings. One of the IT assistants performing a Microsoft 365 deployment performing an in-place operating system upgrade to Windows 10 at a customer site remarked how surprisingly responsive Windows 10 was on PC hardware that was around five years old
- The built-in cybersecurity features of Microsoft 365 automatically help protect employees using both Windows 10 devices but mobile devices such as Android smartphones and iPad tablets, too. This is accomplished through an easy to use online administration portal where your business can set Information Protection Policies to help control and manage how information is accessed. Of course, the cloud-based cybersecurity built into Outlook email protects employees from unsafe attachments, suspicious links, and other unseen malware through attachment scanning and link checking
Again, while upgrading from one operating system to another on any brand of computer in a corporate setting is never a simple process, Amaxra has found that upgrading PCs to Windows 10 and Office 365 apps via Microsoft 365 is relatively easier. Partly because Amaxra works with our customers to assess your hardware, understand how your employees use their devices and apps, and then plan the Microsoft 365 deployment based on your desired outcomes. By setting expectations and following through with the project, Amaxra makes your upgrade to Microsoft 365 go as smoothly as possible.
The economics of Microsoft 365 work to your advantage
Without exception, the objection Amaxra consultants hear most often when discussing Microsoft 365 with potential users is that it will cost too much. However, because Microsoft 365 is a monthly subscription cost rather than a single upfront capital expenditure, your business spreads out the spend. The fact that you are getting an all-inclusive bundle of operating system, productivity apps, and cybersecurity means your business takes advantage of economies of scale. Lastly, the fact that the software is served and administered from the cloud means that your business no longer needs to maintain expensive server hardware, the server licenses, and pay for the electricity and office space required to keep the servers running. Add all of these up and you see that Microsoft 365 solutions actually reduce your overall lower total cost of ownership.
Take advantage of a Microsoft 365 solution to upgrade your Windows 7 PCs today and avoid the looming cybersecurity disaster. Amaxra consultants will work to deploy a solution that upgrades and secures your business thanks to the power of the Microsoft cloud.
*** Special Offer. Subscribe to Microsoft 365 through Amaxra any time before end of May 2019 and save 15% for a year ***
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