How Vulnerable Are Old Windows Systems?

There’s no denying that operating system obsolescence is a major bugbear for many businesses and organizations. In particular, Microsoft Windows is arguably the most common operating system used in the world on millions of computers and devices.

The trouble is, many businesses neglect to upgrade their Windows systems due to cost and time constraints. But, are older Windows systems really that vulnerable to security problems? In short, the answer is yes. Here’s why:

No Support from Microsoft

If your business has computers running Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8, they will no longer be supported by Microsoft. That means the Redmond software maker will no longer provide security updates (“patches”) to address any new security vulnerabilities.

That’s a big deal if your organization uses those computers extensively, as older Windows systems are susceptible to cyber hacking attacks, potentially causing catastrophic results for your business.

Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, got released in 2015 and is currently used by around 77% of computers worldwide.

Limited Support from Vendors

Applications will also eventually withdraw support for their products on older Windows operating systems. As they release new versions of their software, they will undoubtedly take advantage of the latest technologies found in new operating systems.

It costs software vendors time and money to make their applications compatible with older versions of Windows hence why it’s cheaper and easier for them to withdraw support for them eventually.

On a similar note, hardware vendors may also withdraw support for older Windows computers. They might find the security vulnerabilities in obsolete operating systems can negatively impact the performance of their products.

Not All Bad News?

Despite no new security updates from Microsoft, it’s still possible to receive some protection until you upgrade your operating systems and hardware to newer ones.

For example, some internet security suite applications can provide some anti-virus and malware protection for vulnerable versions of Windows. Plus, it’s also possible to put in place some infrastructure measures like hardware firewalls and IP filtering.

However, such measures will only work for a limited time before there’s no support provided by the software and hardware vendors you use. It’s worth noting that some vendors may not give much advance warning about discontinued support for vulnerable Windows computers.

The Case for Upgrading

There will undoubtedly come a time where complete support withdrawal for the software and hardware you use means you must upgrade your infrastructure.

An IT consulting services company can devise a migration path for your organization, ensuring that disruption and upgrade costs get kept to a minimum. Aside from continued support, why else does it make sense to upgrade outdated Windows systems?

Firstly, your business will enjoy increased productivity. New systems running the latest Windows version will support the current software and hardware your company needs to run its daily operations.

Secondly, you significantly decrease the risk of cyberattacks due to Windows security vulnerabilities. And last but not least, you will future-proof your organization, ensuring that it will grow without any IT restrictions.

Chris Turn