If history is any guide, we could be seeing more news articles about ransomware attacks in early 2020. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft Windows 7 and Server 2008 will enter end-of-support. Microsoft will stop offering security patches, leaving any organization running these systems exposed to cyberthreats. An infamous example of what can go wrong is the May 2017 WannaCry attack.

WannaCry: A Microsoft End-of-Support Worst-Case Scenario

On May 12, 2017, the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom was paralyzed by a ransomware attack when cybercriminals exploited a flaw in WindowsXP. Support for WindowsXP had ended in April 2014, but the NHS continued relying on the system.

Running unsupported systems is a costly, unnecessary business risk

The WannaCry attack created life-threatening situations as 19,000 appointments were canceled, and ambulances diverted across the U.K. As of October 2018, the cost of the attack was estimated at over $100 million. On top of that, the incident was completely preventable because the NHS could have updated their systems before the deadline.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Your organization doesn’t need to be as large as the NHS to be targeted by ransomware. Small- and medium-sized businesses are more likely to be targeted because they typically have fewer security measures in place and are easier for cybercriminals to attack.

Don’t be in the dark about compromised credentials. Use our free Dark Web Scan to see if cybercriminals have accessed your organization’s data.

Cybercriminals aren’t Your Only Concern

Even if you avoid being phished or hacked, your business could be levied devastating penalties. When you run unsupported systems, you cannot prove your business is secure. Security is a core component of regulations like HIPAA, PCI or GDPR . If you need to meet these standards, you must migrate away from unsupported systems before the deadline or run the risk of failing an audit.

The California Consumer Privacy Act requires supported systems

End-of-support isn’t the only change you have to navigate in January 2020. On the first day of the new year, you’ll also need to adhere to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The law grants consumers greater control over their personal information. The definition of “personal data” is incredibly broad, and the law has rigorous standards and steep penalties if you fail to comply. You’re guaranteed to not meet the regulations if you use unsupported systems like Windows 7 and Server 2008.

How to Secure Your Network and Business

If you’re running Windows 7, you need to update to Windows 10. For Server 2008, you’ll have more options. You could move to the cloud, eliminating the end-of-support cycle for your business because updates occur automatically. Or, you can choose to migrate to Server 2016 or 2019.

DiamondIT can help you choose the right system for your business. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.