Chris Petty, managing director of Cornerstone Business Solutions, on the ticking time bomb that many businesses are ignoring at their peril…

This column is about crucial advice on changes that are going to affect every business in the Wear region from January.

At Cornerstone, we have advised all of our customers but we also know there are many we don’t look after who still have yet to take the appropriate action.

Your business, like most others, relies on Microsoft software every day. It’s the software you use the most – for email, documents, to run your company’s server and, of course, to run the PCs themselves.

But there’s a problem – and too few businesses know about it.

Microsoft has announced that much of its much-used software reached end-of-life in January 2020.

What does that mean? Will it just stop working? No, it’ll carry on working. But it won’t be supported by Microsoft. Which means if the software breaks or is compromised, there’ll be no-one in repairing it. It’ll stay broken.

As the owner of a popular and trusted managed service provider (MSP) for hundreds of local businesses, I’ve seen this happen before.

End-of-life software like this becomes a keen target for hackers. They will find loopholes and ways to use the software to get into your computer or spread malware – because there’s no-one to stop them.

End-of-life software creates three major problems for your business:

• Problem 1: When it breaks, it will stay broken

• Problem 2: You’ll become a keen target for clever hackers

• Problem 3: Your business will no longer be GDPR compliant

The answer lies in the R’s

• Review – Organise an audit review of all of your software

• Replace – Some of the software, such as the Office suite, can be replaced quickly and easily. But much of it takes time… you’d be surprised how long a new server takes to get set up. We support hundreds of businesses and are now scheduling in work up to January 2020. Don’t leave it till then to take action. This is one of those times where being proactive really will save you serious amounts of stress, time and money.

• Relax – When January 2020 rolls round, I’m pretty confident the media will be full of stories about businesses and organisations that have run into major problems. “But we didn’t know!” they’ll cry. But not your business. You’ll be able to relax and enjoy business as normal.

Cornerstone is not like most IT support companies. We focus our attention on people, more than we do on computers.

Experience has told us people want fewer disruptions – they just want to get on with their work – which is why we told everyone about this problem in the area, months before it happens and why we are mentioning it again as the time is coming around very quickly.

If you would like advice then please get in touch.

Chris Petty
Cornerstone Business Solutions

 

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