Windows 7 has been the most widely used operating system for healthcare business operations since it was released in 2009. However, many users are unaware that as of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer support or update Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008. As of that time, there will be no further security patches, and users of these systems will immediately become much more vulnerable to hacking and security threats.
Hackers are very aware that these systems will become more vulnerable, and will most likely plan to attack systems that have not been updated. Numerous medical and dental practices suffered breaches and ransomware attacks when they continued using Windows XP after support for that operating system ended in 2014.
Using an unsupported operating system leaves patient health information vulnerable to attack, and offices using such systems after the deadline would be considered non-compliant with HIPAA regulations. It would be a major security and compliance risk for you to continue to have any unsupported computers on your network after the January 14, 2020 date.
Now is the time to plan to update your system. Windows 10, Windows Server 2019 and Microsoft Office 365 will continue to be fully supported, and they may work with your existing hardware and software. Speak to your IT professional to evaluate what is best for your practice. Do it soon, because you can expect that the closer you get to the deadline, the busier your IT professional will be upgrading other people’s systems.
For users of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Enterprise, you can purchase Extended Security Updates through January 2023.