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Hackers Have Windows 7 & Windows Server 2008 End-of-Life Plans. What are Yours?

Posted on April 17, 2019

Zero-day exploit: The details of a software bug are released to the public before the manufacturer has a chance to fix it. Hackers exploit the flaw, harming your business with malware or accessing confidential data.

When Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 enter End of Life (EOL) on January 14, 2020, every day has the potential to be a zero-day exploit because Microsoft isn’t going to provide security patches or updates.

You Can’t Afford to Ignore Microsoft End of Life

You may be tempted to procrastinate, but hackers won’t lose any time. The confluence of businesses not preparing and support ending for Server 2008/Windows 7 is a perfect storm. As much planning as Microsoft has done to make business owners aware of Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 end of life, hackers are doing the same level of planning for their zero-day threat opportunity.

After EOL, hackers will be able to manipulate security flaws and businesses will have little ability to stop them. Once inside your network, all client, customer and business data on your server will be an open book for hackers to see, steal and sell on the Dark Web. Additionally, your systems are an easy target for malware and other Trojan horses like spyware and adware, preventing your business from operating normally and jeopardizing your reputation.

This is the danger you will live with every day after January 14, 2020 if you continue using Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7. Even if you avoid hackers your organization won’t meet regulatory requirements like FINRA, HIPAA or PCI because you cannot prove that your data is secure.  

EOL is a real threat. Delaying is not an option.

5 Best Practices for a Seamless Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 End-of-Life Migration

To avoid security and compliance liabilities, you need a cohesive EOL strategy. Here are 5 best practices any small business can follow for a smooth and stress-free migration.

1. Start Planning ASAP

EOL migrations involve balancing multiple schedules. You need to consider your own business cycle and the availability of your IT partner and any other vendors using your Microsoft software, such as line-of-business applications. If you don’t plan your migration appropriately, it could occur just as some critical business process becomes due and you’re at your busiest. An accounting firm may have to wait until the height of October tax deadlines.

Tip! Count on a 60- to 90-day planning period and factor this into your migration timeline.

2. Select a New Operating System

The automatic reaction often is to move to the most current release, which would be Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019. Windows 10 was released in 2015 and is a reliable product we’ve migrated clients to countless times. But we’ve experienced issues as we’ve implemented Server 2019 internally at itSynergy. We recommend Windows Server 2016. It is a more stable offering and the end-of-life date isn’t until 2027.

3. Check Applications for Compatibility

Updating your workplace operating system is not like downloading a new version of an app on your smartphone. You need to ensure that every application you currently rely on will work with Windows 10 and/or Windows Server 2016. You want to upgrade older line-of-business applications so they continue to work with the new system.

4. Discuss Upgrading Hardware

Our focus is not on selling you new hardware, but on having a discussion about whether or not upgrading makes sense for your business.

For instance, if you have a machine that can run the new operating system you may not need to upgrade. However, if the machine is over 5 years old, you may want to invest in new hardware now rather than sink time and effort into a device you’ll replace next year.

5. Limit Downtime

One of the biggest concerns small business owners have during migrations is the potential loss of productivity. As long as proper steps are taken, downtime can be minimized.

An experienced IT partner can move your organization to Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 without your employees ever noticing. At itSynergy our process is so fine-tuned we can come in after your employees leave on a Thursday, transition everything to the new server and no one will know the difference when they come to work on Friday.  

We favor migrating on Thursday rather than over the weekend. If any issues occur we can promptly resolve them on Friday, allowing you to start the following week with no unexpected delays.

If an employee’s desktop wallpaper was a photo of their kids, we make sure that photo is the wallpaper they see when they come to work after the migration occurs. It is a small factor in the overall migration, but it minimizes the psychological impact of the change and helps your team return to pre-migration productivity levels more quickly.

Have questions about Microsoft Windows Server 2008 or Windows 7? As a Microsoft Silver Partner, we’ve demonstrated expertise in managing migrations and can provide additional information and strategic IT advice. Contact itSynergy today at 602-297-2400 or online.

New Compliance Suite: Created for and by CCOs of Registered Investment Adviser Firms

New Compliance Suite: Created for and by CCOs of Registered Investment Adviser Firms

Posted on February 8, 2019

Background Shelli first worked with the itSynergy team in 2012 and maintained a professional relationship with them as her compliance career progressed. In 2017, as Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) for a local registered investment adviser (RIA) firm, she brought in itSynergy for managed IT services, explaining that she sought them out for their demonstrated industry … Continue reading New Compliance Suite: Created for and by CCOs of Registered Investment Adviser Firms »

OCIE Audits: How IT Experts can Help CCOs Stay Compliant

Posted on January 25, 2019

When it comes to the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) audits, there are two recent trends CCOs at Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms need to pay attention to: The OCIE is increasingly concerned about cybersecurity. Audits are happening more frequently. Since 2013, the percent of firms audited has risen. As audits become more common, … Continue reading OCIE Audits: How IT Experts can Help CCOs Stay Compliant »

Risk-Informed Decision-Making: What’s Your RIDM IT Loss Tolerance?

Posted on January 7, 2019

How long can your business go without its information technology being operational? Answering this question is an easy way to judge your business’ risk tolerance for loss of IT. So, once you’ve estimated your business’ tolerance for a loss of IT, you can begin to plan and implement risk-informed decision-making (RIDM) processes based on an … Continue reading Risk-Informed Decision-Making: What’s Your RIDM IT Loss Tolerance? »

#1 Lesson from Our Top 8 Blog Posts of 2018

Posted on November 30, 2018

#1 Lesson from Our Top 8 Blog Posts of 2018 As we approach 2019, we’ve been reflecting on the past year. You’re probably doing the same right now with your business – identifying those experiences and lessons from 2018 you can use in the new year to advance toward your goals. Part of our review … Continue reading #1 Lesson from Our Top 8 Blog Posts of 2018 »

Kick ‘Not Secure’ to the Curb: 4 Steps to SSL

Posted on August 6, 2018

Kick ‘Not Secure’ to the Curb: 4 Steps to SSL Michael Cocanower – a certified ethical hacker who uses his powers for good and not evil – gives his insight on Google’s latest update and how he changed his website to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). Michael Cocanower is also President and CEO of itSynergy. Google’s … Continue reading Kick ‘Not Secure’ to the Curb: 4 Steps to SSL »

4 Benefits of Good IT That Help Phoenix Doctors Grow Their Practice

Posted on July 5, 2018

4 Benefits of Good IT That Help Phoenix Doctors Grow Their Practice The medical industry has excelled with the remarkable advancements in using technology to research, implement and monitor patient treatments. However, there are also fundamental IT solutions to help your practice grow by focusing on patient and staff experiences. Here’s 4 ways that IT … Continue reading 4 Benefits of Good IT That Help Phoenix Doctors Grow Their Practice »

How to Increase Patient Satisfaction with Better Technology

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How to Increase Patient Satisfaction with Better Technology First of all, your patients aren’t feeling well, so they may arrive to your office in a bad mood anyway. Their demeanor doesn’t improve, however, if they encounter issues when they come to your practice for health care. The top patient complaints are: Communications – 53% Long … Continue reading How to Increase Patient Satisfaction with Better Technology »

5 Steps to HIPAA Compliance for Phoenix Doctors to Take Now

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5 Steps to HIPAA Compliance for Phoenix Doctors to Take Now Most medical records and Protected Health Information (PHI) are now created, managed and stored electronically. Because of this, greater Phoenix-area medical practices need to ensure their computer equipment, software and technology processes are secure enough to meet stringent Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act … Continue reading 5 Steps to HIPAA Compliance for Phoenix Doctors to Take Now »

What IT Security Level Is Acceptable for Financial Firms

SEC Safeguards Rule Part 3: Software and Tools to Keep Financial Services Compliant

Posted on June 29, 2018

SEC Safeguards Rule Part 3:  Software and Tools to Keep Financial Services Compliant Complying with the SEC’s Safeguards Rule means using technology to ensure the protections of your customers’ private information. In part 1 of this series, we outlined 3 ways to meet SEC compliance expectations. In part 2 of this series, security best practices … Continue reading SEC Safeguards Rule Part 3: Software and Tools to Keep Financial Services Compliant »