Throughout the year, we’ve been reminding you about Microsoft products reaching end of support (EOS) in January 2020. Some businesses have heeded warnings, while others are allocating the necessary funds to upgrade software or hardware before the quarter ends.

Either way, EOS is fast approaching. Here’s a quick refresher about what to focus on before the year ends.

What EOS means for you, your business, and your customers

Each one of Microsoft’s products goes through a lifecycle. The tech giant implements lifecycles for its products as an “investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences.”

In general, when a product’s lifecycle is nearing its end, it is a perfect opportunity for you to upgrade your systems, software, and hardware.  Keeping your systems and software products up to date ensures protection from the evolving threat landscape.

After January 14, 2020, Microsoft is ending support for several of its software products — including Windows Server 2008, Windows Small Business Server 2011, SQL Server 2008, Exchange 2010, and Windows 7.

Throughout 2020, many other Microsoft software products will reach end of support, including Office 2010 which will reach EOS on October 13, 2020 — but what does that mean for you if your business is currently using any of these products?

When a product goes to End of Support, it will still function, but Microsoft will no longer provide any support benefits like software updates, security packs, and critical updates and patches.

If you continue using these products beyond their EOS date, you run the risk of increasing the likelihood of cybercriminals infiltrating your networks and deploying viruses and malware.

What are your options when your products reach EOS?

Your options ultimately depend on the Microsoft products you’re still using.

If you’re still running Windows 7, which has nearly 31.8 percent of the Operating System market share, compared to 48.9 percent for Windows 10, you can upgrade to Windows 10, which offers comprehensive end-to-end security, covering antivirus, firewall, internet protections and more. Upgrading an old PC is not optimal as the machine will run very slowly. Microsoft recommends using Windows 10 on new devices to take advantage of the latest features and security improvements fully.

Here’s another example. Exchange Server 2010 reaches EOS on January 14, 2020. There are two paths you can take to avoid EOS for the messaging platform that you updated: stay on-premises with the latest version of Exchange or move to the cloud.

You’re running out of time, so act today

If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to upgrade your solutions reaching EOS in January 2020, it’s time to stop procrastinating and act today: Believe it or not, January is right around the corner.

Many IT providers already have migration projects scheduled for the remainder of the year, so finding a professional to assist you with upgrading your software and hardware won’t be easy; however, the sooner you begin reaching out to IT providers in your area, the more likely someone will be available to assist you with your EOS needs.

Even though you may not be an expert on EOS, you need to understand how it can impact your business if you don’t act quick enough to protect yourself from potential threats.