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Why Small Businesses Should Upgrade Their Operating Systems


Small businesses are not immune to cybersecurity threats, and they face the same problem as large companies – outdated operating systems. Some businesses may have computers running on old operating systems that staff members only use occasionally. Others may rely on customized software that only works with older OS versions. But running an outdated OS means exposing your business to cyberattacks, as developers stop supporting old operating systems once they retire them. The latest OS to lose support is Windows 8.1, which Microsoft released in 2013 and officially retired on January 10, 2023.

So, what happens when an operating system reaches its end of life? Here are a few facts small businesses need to know:

The Operating System Will Still Work, But Less Safe

When an operating system reaches its end of life, it doesn’t stop working immediately. However, it’s less safe due to the loss of support. Without security updates, your device becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks.

<H3>Your System Will No Longer Receive Security Patches</H3>

Hackers are always looking for software and OS vulnerabilities to exploit. Once they find a loophole, they write code to exploit it, allowing them to gain access to your system. Developers usually release security patches to fix these vulnerabilities and protect users. However, when an OS reaches its end of life, these fixes are no longer available, leaving your device vulnerable to hacks for days, months, or years afterward.

Options for Upgrading

If you have a computer that is still running Windows 8.1, you have two options for upgrading – Windows 10 or Windows 11. However, if your device is too old, it may not meet the requirements for either, and you may need to buy a new device altogether. There is no free option to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 or 11, but upgrading comes with many benefits, including better built-in security, faster processing, modern features like facial recognition, improved accessibility features, and updated productivity tools.

What Happens If I Don’t Upgrade?

Small businesses that choose not to upgrade from an outdated operating system face several issues, including:

Security and Compliance Issues

Without security updates, your device becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. A single hacked system on your network can compromise the security of your entire system, jeopardizing your compliance with data privacy regulations like HIPAA.

Slowed Productivity

Older systems tend to slow down over time, affecting staff productivity. Employees dealing with outdated software may complain that it hurts productivity, and some may even quit. Outdated operating systems can cause staff to miss out on modern time-saving features, and they may also experience problems with bugs that will no longer get fixed.

Incompatibility with Newer Tools

Software and hardware developers are always moving forward, and once an operating system is retired, they are no longer prioritizing its compatibility. Using outdated software and hardware can hurt your business, making you less competitive and holding you back.

Get Help With Your Windows Upgrades

Upgrading your operating system can be challenging, but we can help. If you need a new system, we can point you in the right direction for the best value. Contact us today to schedule a chat about upgrades and where your security stands.

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