We are well aware of the late November tradition when the nation’s Chief Executive pardons a turkey presented by the National Turkey Federation. The turkey’s life is spared allowing him to happily live out his days on a nearby farm. The ceremony traces its origins to 1863 when Lincoln’s son, Tad, apparently pleaded with his father to spare the life of a turkey brought to the White House for Christmas dinner. The modern tradition of presenting a live bird began in the Truman Presidency in 1947. It was an effort to conserve grain by encouraging Americans to eat more poultry. Thirty years ago, the official “pardons” began when President George H.W. Bush issued a mock pardon to a turkey presented to him.

As Geoffrey Chaucer penned centuries ago, “time and tide wait for no man.” That applies to all living things—mankind and turkeys included. It also applies to information technology operating software as well. Each is faced one day with its “end of life” (EOL). And two major Microsoft operating systems used by countless organizations worldwide are going EOL on January 14, 2020, when Windows ends support for both. They are Windows 7 for user computers and Windows Server 2008 for servers. Every Windows product has a lifecycle. It begins when a product is released and ends when it is no longer supported. In effect, January 14th is the expiration date for these two operating systems.

EOL Technology is Risky Business

What does “End of Life” mean? It does not mean that these operating systems will stop working. However, it’s important to note that it does mean that after that date, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for them. So, when substantial security holes are found after January 2020—and they will be found—Microsoft will neither create nor deliver any updates or patches. Users are on their own and working at a very high risk. Beyond that, users who continue to use these operating systems will find themselves out of compliance with PII, PCI, HIPPA and FINRA requirements. Additionally, these EOL dates often coincide with the time that other software and hardware providers stop supporting users who continue to use these expired operating systems.

So, how does a manager take control of this situation? For Windows 7 computers, the most obvious choice is to move to Windows 10. That can be done either by upgrading the existing PC by purchasing a Windows 10 operating system upgrade and installing it on the machine or by purchasing an entirely new machine. Typically, it makes sense to upgrade rather than replace if the PC is under two years old and is well-equipped with lots of RAM and data storage capacity. If not, purchasing a new PC is the way to go. For servers running Windows Server 2008 operating system, in most cases it makes sense to purchase a new server to replace the current server. But in other cases, organizations might move their server to the cloud either with Amazon (AWS) or Microsoft (Azure) offerings. For the more mobile workforces, they might not need a full server anymore and they can leverage existing Microsoft Office 365 licenses and cloud offerings including SharePoint and One Drive for Business.

There is a lot to consider and do between now and mid-January. IT Radix is happy to help any time before your goose (or turkey) is cooked.

Contact us here and get started today!

First published in our November 2019 IT Radix Resource newsletter