Are you using an older version of Windows, Outlook, or Windows Server? If so, don’t panic, but Microsoft may be about to stop supporting those products.
Microsoft publishes the lifecycle of each product on their website, but it’s a big wall of text and tables, so we’re happy to decipher it for you. It can be inconvenient and costly to find yourself in need of tech support for an unsupported product, and it can take a while to do a company-wide update, so make sure you know ahead of time what you’ll need to replace, and by when.
Here’s what they’re telling us:
- Windows 7: Microsoft will stop giving any support at all, including user support and security patches on Jan. 14, 2020. This is called “End of Life.” Until then, they’ll provide security updates and you can buy support if you need it.
- Windows 8.1: They ended mainstream support (new features, free user support) on Jan. 9, 2018, but End of Life won’t happen until 2023.
- Windows Server 2008/2008 R2: End of Life will occur Jan. 14, 2020.
- Windows Server 2012: End of life will occur Oct. 10, 2023.
The ones we think will have the greatest impact will be the End of Life for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. Many people are still running Windows 7 because they love it, and many servers are still running 2008 because it really was a great product. They both will reach End of Life on Jan. 14, 2020, so that’s worth some attention.
You should also know that Microsoft has been moving toward a subscription-based model, encouraging clients and companies to move toward Office 365 subscriptions instead of the old model of buying software, loading Microsoft Office onto your device, and having a perpetual license for the product. Users who have a perpetual license, such as those on Office 2016, will need to upgrade by 2020 in order to use their product in conjunction with the suite of Office 365 products, like SharePoint and Exchange.
These end dates are important to track to keep all of your products working together. When you connect Office 365 products with “legacy” versions of Microsoft tools, you don’t benefit from the full range of the current product capabilities and certain features may not work properly.
If you act on nothing else, take the 12 months to ensure that your software and systems are up to date and well-thought-out. Ask your Managed Service Provider or dedicated IT staff to tell you what your business is running now, whether it’s up to date and supported, what actions you need to take to stay supported and compliant, and help you think through moving to a subscription-based product. If you have proprietary or industry-specific software that ties in, you’ll need some extra planning time.
If you’re a Longleaf client, we’re already doing this on your behalf, so please do ask us for more information. You also have the benefit of our virtual CIO services, to ensure that your current and future business needs are supported by your technology investments.
If you’re not yet a Longleaf client, and have a need for this sort of strategic IT planning and execution, we’re always glad to help. Please do reach out to us at email@example.com for a full discovery and analysis of your IT infrastructure.