Why Upgrade From Windows 8.1?

Free Microsoft Notebook photo and pictureBoth large and small companies face a common cybersecurity problem: their computers still run on older operating systems. These devices might only be used occasionally by staff, or the company may use customized software that is incompatible with newer OS versions.

As a result, when the OS becomes outdated, the system becomes vulnerable to cyberattacks. When an OS gets retired by Microsoft or another developer, it means that the system gets no more feature updates or security patches for newly discovered vulnerabilities.

The most recent operating system to lose all support is Windows 8.1. Microsoft released the OS in 2013, and officially retired it on January 10, 2023. Microsoft issued this warning for companies:

“Continuing to use Windows 8.1 after January 10, 2023 may increase an organization’s exposure to security risks or impact its ability to meet compliance obligations.”

Here are a few facts to know about what this retirement of Windows 8.1 means.

The OS Will Still Technically Work

When an operating system reaches its end of life, it doesn’t just stop working. Many companies continue to use it without realizing the security risks. Technically, the OS continues to function as it did the day before retirement. However, it becomes significantly less safe due to the loss of support.

Your System Will No Longer Receive Security Patches

Hackers make a living by seeking out and exploiting software and OS vulnerabilities. Typically, the vulnerability cycle starts when they discover a software “loophole” and write code to exploit it, gaining some form of system access.

Once hackers start breaching systems, software developers become aware of the vulnerability and write code to fix it. They then send the fix to users through an update, protecting their devices from potential hacker exploits.

However, when an OS reaches its end of life, these fixes are no longer provided. Developers have moved on to focus on newer products, leaving the vulnerability unresolved. This leaves the device open to potential hacks for days, months, or even years afterward.

Approximately 61% of security vulnerabilities in corporate networks are over five years old.

Options for Upgrading

If your computer is still running Windows 8.1, you have two upgrade options: Windows 10 or Windows 11. However, there is a chance that your system may not meet the requirements for either, given the outdated OS. In this case, purchasing a new device may be necessary.

Microsoft has stated that there is no free option to upgrade from 8.1 to Windows 10 or 11. However, upgrading provides several advantages, such as:

  • Better built-in security
  • Faster processing
  • Capability for more modern features (like facial recognition)
  • Improved accessibility features
  • Updated productivity tools (like snap layouts in Windows 11)

What Happens If I Don’t Upgrade?

Security & Compliance Issues

Staying on Windows 8.1 puts your data security at risk since any vulnerabilities will remain unpatched without security updates. This makes your system highly vulnerable to breaches, and if one system on a network is hacked, it can lead to the spread of the breach or malware infection to newer devices.

Moreover, if you have to comply with a data privacy regulation such as HIPAA, using an outdated OS can lead to compliance issues. Data privacy rules mandate that reasonable efforts be made to protect data, which is jeopardized by using a device with an outdated OS.

Slowed Productivity

As systems age, they tend to slow down, impacting staff productivity, especially those working on outdated software. A survey revealed that 77% of employees found outdated tech frustrating, which could lead to staff turnover, with employees dealing with outmoded systems being 450% more likely to seek employment elsewhere.

Additionally, an outdated operating system can hinder staff by preventing them from utilizing modern time-saving features, and they may also encounter issues with bugs that will no longer be fixed.

Incompatibility With Newer Tools

Software and hardware developers do not prioritize the compatibility of their products with retired OSs, as they are focused on moving forward. In fact, some developers may not want their products to be compatible with outdated OSs due to liability concerns.

Using outdated software and hardware can hinder your business, making it less competitive and causing it to fall behind. Sticking to an outmoded OS keeps you rooted in the past. Upgrading represents your best option for keeping your business current and secure in today’s markets.

Why Is This Published By A Business Phone Company?

Here at NoContractVoIP, we believe that your success creates our success. And, since we specialize in business communication, we work to help you communicate better while staying safe. We create the cutting edge communication systems that modern companies need.

To talk to a business phone system specialist, call 866-550-0005 or contact us today.

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