The End is Near for Windows 7 – January 14, 2020

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Microsoft Windows EOL

Microsoft will now longer support Windows 7 after January 14th, 2020.

The most important question you might ask yourself is, “will I still be able to use Windows 7?” The answer is yes, but Microsoft will no longer provide some of the features that support its operation. If you use Windows 7, you will no longer receive security or software updates, and technical support will end.

It is officially recommended by Microsoft that for security reasons, users  move away from devices that run Windows 7. But not every business owner has that option.

As a business owner, you may have some legacy systems running. That is, software that was never updated to run on later versions Microsoft Windows. Additionally, there also might be some hardware peripherals that require the Windows 7 Operating System to run. You are faced with a decision: keep running the insecure version of Windows and take the risk? Or move to a later version of Windows and change hardware/software.

What if the software or hardware you run is an absolute requirement? In that case, there are several options. They are listed here in this stack exchange thread and also below.

To isolate off more dangerous/risky activity (e.g. installing software of unknown provenance, as in your example) there are a varying levels of isolation that you can impose between the system

  1. Containers. Provides some level of isolation, but the OS kernel is still shared.
  2. Virtual machines. Introduces a hypervisor, which separates the environments. There’s still some level of risk here if the Hypervisor has security vulnerabilities.
  3. Separate machines, same network. Here you can use host firewalls (e.g. the windows firewall, iptables on linux) to protect each machine from the other.
  4. Separate machines, different network, same Internet connection. Here you introduce a hardware firewall between the machines.
  5. Separate machines, different network, different Internet conneciton. Here you get a separate Internet connection (e.g. run one on a 3/4G mobile connection and the other on a wired connection), to fully isolate one from the other.

As a business owner, you must consider the importance of the safety and security of your clients’ data. We highly advise against running an insecure operating system (which Windows 7 will soon become) for business activity.

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