A high number of people are still using Windows 7 four months after support stopped.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

May 25, 2020

10 Min Read
Cybersecurity Roundup, security roundup

It’s been four months since Microsoft’s Windows 7 end of life officially began.

In April 2019, Windows 7 users accounted for nearly34% of all Windows desktop users. As of last month, that had only fallen to 19%, according to StatCounter Global Stats.

And according to data from RapidFire Tools, a Kaseya company, 7% of machines managed by MSPs using RapidFire Tools still used Windows 7 as of April.

Windows 7 end of life, which means Microsoft will no longer offer patches and security updates, began Jan. 14.

There are still a high number of users, both individuals and companies, long after Windows 7 end of life. That means the platform will be increasingly buggy, and more importantly, increasingly vulnerable to viruses and malware.

For instance, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected more than 200,000 systems globally in May 2017. And it resulted from an unpatched vulnerability of the OS.


Kaseya’s Mike Puglia

To find out more about the dangers associated with Windows 7 end of life, we spoke with Mike Puglia, chief customer marketing officer at Kaseya.

Channel Futures: Why are so many businesses and individuals still using Windows 7? Is switching over a
difficult process?

Mike Puglia: The reasons businesses and individuals are still running on Windows 7 boils down to time, effort, money. And, because, regardless of the risks, their systems seem to work “just fine.” It’s not technically difficult to upgrade, but two main issues slow some organizations.

The first issue is that the machines running Windows 7 are old and the specs won’t run Windows 10. So businesses are torn and constantly asking themselves if they have the money to buy new machines. Second, it takes between one to two hours to run the upgrade, which can be hard, especially with most machines being mobile laptops. In order to properly update, organizations have to get their entire workforce to log online at the same time for 2 hours to fully transition. However, this is not anything new. IT has gone through this change since the days of Windows NT and XP support ending. It is part of the regular life cycle maintenance.

CF: What sort of security risks are associated with continuing to ignore Windows 7 end of life?

MP: If businesses or individuals aren’t using Windows 7 Extended Support, then they are running machines that no longer get security patches. (Windows 7 Extended Support is a paid Microsoft service.) Simply put, it’s like having a safety recall on your car and not bringing it in to get fixed. You are gambling that the issues associated with this risk won’t harm you.

CF: Have the security risks increased during the COVID-19 pandemic?

MP: Risks have increased for some organizations as their computing environment has changed. Some companies did not have remote workers before and weren’t prepared for many of their employees to work from home, outside the relative safety of the corporate office.

CF: How can MSPs and cybersecurity providers help businesses that are still using Windows 7?

MP: MSPs can bring processes to businesses still using Windows 7. They have done this countless times across many years. MSPs excel at running upgrade programs that leverage audits to determine the state of the business’ computing environment and automated tools used to run the upgrades.

CF: Is there a lot for organizations to consider when moving off of Windows 7? What mistakes can they avoid?

MP: When moving off [Windows 7], the main mistake is not understanding the environment before charging ahead with upgrades. Blindly upgrading can lead to poor performance after the upgrade and an inability to run certain software. Specifically, two mistakes can be avoided by running regular audits.

Businesses must determine if their machines and networks have the …

… horsepower (i.e. CPU/RAM/Disk/etc.) to run Windows 10. This is so they can decide what machines to replace and to determine which software is running on those machines. From there, businesses can confirm whether their devices are compatible with Windows 10.

Tech Companies Could Incur Staggering Losses in Data Breaches

Tech companies could lose an average of $174 million per day – or $37.3 billion per month – from a data breach.

That’s according to new research by cloud solutions company Iomart. It reveals what a breach could cost top companies and social media platforms. 

Large-scale breaches are growing in intensity and frequency this year. The number of compromised records rose by 273% in the first quarter, compared to the same time last year. These included nearly 1,200 individual data leaks — almost 40% of which happened in the United States. 

The typical loss for a large company is between 10 million and 99 million records per incident; that results in the average company losing 7.3% of its value. 

How much a business stands to lose depends on how long it takes it to identify and contain a breach. That correlates to the number of records stolen, as IBM outlines in its study on data breach costs.  

For companies in the tech sector, it took an average of 187 days to identify, and a further 59 days to contain a breach. This equates to an average potential loss of almost $43 billion for the highest-earning tech companies per incident. 

Data breaches hit the IT sector hardest in the first quarter; the number of breaches more than doubed from the same period in 2019. The manufacturing and health care sectors were the next most impacted. 

Among major tech companies, Apple has the most to lose with an estimated company value drop of $95.7 billion following a typical breach. Microsoft could lose $81.6 billion and Amazon could lose $68.7 billion. 

If these tech companies infringed General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines and incurred the maximum fine, Apple would lose a further $2.56 billion and Microsoft an additional $1.34 billion. The total breach cost would be $98.3 billion and $82.9 billion, respectively. 

With an estimated 70% of all breaches resulting from phishing scams, and email fraud skyrocketing as a result of COVID-19, it’s crucial that companies invest in data protection. This is particularly important for smaller tech organizations and startups that can’t stand to lose up to 10% of their market value.

Bill Strain is Iomart’s product development director. He said there needs to be a fundamental change in attitude.


Iomart’s Bill Strain

“Security has often been seen as an IT issue or a cost that had to be borne because of certification or accreditation requirements,” he said. “This has to change. A breach is now a potentially existential threat to the organization and security has to be viewed from a different perspective. While investing in effective protection measures, the organization needs to start from an assumption that they have been breached and plan how they will limit the damage. Some things to consider are how they will recover from a breach, how they can reorganize to reduce the potential for a breach and how they can limit the scope of a breach when it occurs.”

There’s “tremendous scope” for MSSPs and other cybersecurity providers, Strain said.

“Security is increasingly moving from an IT issue to a board-level issue,” he said. “Many IT organizations do not have the skill sets or staffing levels to set up effective defenses or to react to threats in the time frames required. Security is a 24/7 business. When a threat is identified or a breach occurs, it has to be quickly identified and a remediation plan created and put into action. MSSPs have the skills to set up the security systems and manage them 24/7, but crucially also have the infrastructure skills to act when an incident is detected.”

Netskope, VMware Collaborate for Remote Worker Safety

Netskope and VMware are collaborating on a technology suite that aims to addressing the challenges of securely enabling the remote-first workforce.

Enterprises can get enhanced endpoint management and protection, data and …

… threat protection for cloud, web and private applications, and SD-WAN access in one solution.

By sharing customer-specific threat indicators between Netskope and VMware Carbon Black, one can quickly identify new threats and neutralize them across the organization.

Netskope and VMware Workspace ONE work together to get full visibility and governance over devices and the cloud.

Netskope and VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud deliver a secure access service edge (SASE). It is optimized for applications that require security when accessed from a campus, branch office or an employee working remotely.

Sanjay Beri is Netskope’s CEO. He said there is “very strong interlock” between the VMware and Netskope’s offerings.


Netskope’s Sanjay Beri

“They complement each other and seamlessly work together,” he said. “So the integrated solutions, approved by VMware and Netskope, make it easy for partners to offer their customers scalable and trusted solutions, which can be sold repeatedly and drive significant recurring revenue.”

For example, with the integration of Netskope with VMware’s Carbon Black and Workspace One, partners can offer a solution to the pressing remote worker need, Beri said. The solution secures and manages the whole user experience, from the laptop to the application.

“We are big believers in best-of-breed, modern security platforms playing well together and putting the effort into seamlessly integrating — from endpoint to network, to cloud to data center, to more,” he said. “This combination does that and delivers a competitive advantage.”

Exabeam Offers SIEM Free Trial, Zoom Monitoring

Exabeam has announced a free trial of Exabeam SaaS Cloud, its cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM), and support for the collection of logs from Zoom.

This further supports security teams’ need to carry out their investigations across a diverse environment. The Exabeam Cloud Connectors solution includes the new log source.

Exabeam SaaS Cloud contributed to more than half of the company’s new and add-on recurring revenue in the first quarter. This signals an accelerated transition of its business to the cloud.

This momentum builds on improvements to Exabeam’s cloud-first strategy, including the recent announcements of the Exabeam Cloud Platform and Google Cloud security partner status.


Exabeam’s Sam Humphries

Sam Humphries is Exabeam‘s senior product marketing manager and security strategist. She said digital transformation is accelerating due to the pandemic, with a rapid transition to working from home. And more than ever, businesses, education institutions and government agencies are relying on cloud applications to stay up and running.

“It’s no secret that Zoom’s meteoric rise as the household name in video conferencing platforms made it a rich target for cybercriminals, with credential-stuffing attacks and Zoombombing efforts rising alongside its popularity,” she said. “Now, partners can offer these organizations Exabeam’s Cloud Connector for Zoom to monitor for abnormal behavior in the application that may be indicative of a cyberattack or misuse.”

On top of Zoom, partners can provide these connectors for more than 40 more cloud services. This gives their customers’ security teams the tools they need to adapt to the “new, cloud-first world,” Humphries said.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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