January 31,2019

It’s Not Me, It’s You – WST

You’ve come to trust each other, and you know each other’s flaws and idiosyncrasies.  You’re comfortable.  Sadly, it must end.  Wait, what do you think we are talking about?  We mean the support for common operating systems and applications.  You remember just a few short years ago when support ended for Windows XP and all your workstations and ATMs had to be (frantically) upgraded?  Well, we are now less than a year from repeating that cycle.

Microsoft will end “extended support” for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020.  Similarly, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 (Standard and Enterprise) will simultaneously end on that same date.  After that date, security patches for those systems will cease.  And just as you catch your breath from those, Office 2010 support ends on October 13, 2020.

If you are running some or all of these in your IT environment, you will likely have a lot of planning, purchasing and implementing to do in 2019.  ATMs, in particular, can be a challenge as you must choreograph a planning dance that involves the ATM manufacturer (Can your ATMs run Windows 10, the presumed replacement OS?), processors, and networks.  Those that went through the Windows XP exodus probably recall how they had to “get in line” with various vendors to get new hardware, software updates, testing, and implementation done before support ended.  Get in line early this time around and avoid the end-of-year panic rush.

Your IT person/vendor/department needs to stay on top of support lifecycles of other vendors’ software too, and not just Microsoft products.  As an example, if you have VMware running your virtual infrastructure you need to ensure you have retired ESXi 5.5 (support ended September 19, 2018), and have a plan for upgrading from ESXi 6.0 in the next year (support will end March 12, 2020).

Finally, support dates apply for home computers too.  If you have Windows 7 on a laptop or workstation at home, keep in mind you need to upgrade to Windows 10 (or Windows 8.1 if you feel a need to punish yourself) before January 14, 2020.

You may be comfortable, but it will soon be time to learn another’s quirks and fall in love all over again.

Past Weekly Security Tips – WST