Microsoft has announced its timetable regarding the end of support for Windows 7 and Windows 8. These dates may seem distant, but you will want to begin planning now, so that you can complete a transition prior to the end of support.
Transition planning is important, because after support ends, security updates are no longer provided. Without security updates, your computer/network will be vulnerable to external hacking attempts and potential malware intrusion. Under HIPAA’s Security Rule, you are required to take measures that reduce such risks, including updating software with security patches, and ending use of software that is no longer being supported by the manufacturer.
Windows continues to offer security updates through what it terms the “Extended Support” time frame.
- For Windows 7, Service Pack 1, extended support will end on January 14, 2020.
- For Windows 8, (current latest version 8.1), extended support will end on January 10, 2023.
You should work with your IT department/vendor to plan upgrades to operating systems/software as appropriate prior to the end of extended support dates. Due to limitations of hardware, this may sometimes require the purchase of new equipment that is capable of running the new operating system or software. For this reason, budgeting concerns also play a key role.
Refer to the March 2016 issue of the Advisor for additional information on this topic.