Microsoft first released Windows 7 in July of 2009 with plans to dispose of the Operating System (OS) within five years. The terrible reception of Windows 8 created little desire for the corporate and small business users to migrate their infrastructure to a flawed and ultimately short-lived platform. Microsoft officially ended mainstream support for Windows 7 on January 13, 2015, but the voice of community users could not be ignored and Microsoft was forced to extend support until January 14, 2020.
What does this mean for your HIPAA business?
Extending Windows 7 Support meant businesses gained another 5 years on their infrastructure life but that time has effectively run out, with less than 9 months remaining at the time of this article. Windows 7 End of Life means a lot to a HIPAA covered medical business:
- Security Patches will no longer be released for Windows 7. Exploits are constantly discovered and published within the technology community. As these exploits become known vendors release patches to cover those vulnerabilities, at the same time hackers develop malware and viruses. Windows 7 will no longer receive these patches but hackers will continue to pursue these exploits.
- Practice Management Systems are phasing out of Windows 7 support. Vendors like Patterson Dental, Dolphin and Easy Dental recommend all their users migrate from Windows 7 or any operating system not supported or patched. Dental and medical software vendors work with Microsoft toolkits to develop their software. Windows 7 end of life means software development toolkits are increasingly made to develop Windows 10 compatible software.
HIPAA Minimum Necessary Requirement
According to the “Minimum Necessary Requirement” rule, a business covered by HIPAA must “evaluate their practices and enhance safeguards as needed to limit unnecessary or inappropriate access to and disclosure of protected health information.” From a technology perspective, ensuring that your business is running on a currently patched operating system meets this minimum threshold.
If your HIPAA medical office is using Windows 7, Windows 8 or earlier as your primary operating systems you are at high risk and low-security standards for Protected Health Information. Upgrading your digital medical office to Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 before the January 2020 deadline is still possible and the best way to guarantee your technology infrastructure for the future.
Windows 10 was officially released July 29, 2015, as the OS that would recover the lost Windows 7 users. Designed with the interface from windows 7 and all of the security and performance improvements learned over the previous 10 years. Windows 10 has had one major service pack and is quickly taking its place as the business operating system of choice.
Upgrading your digital business isn’t easy and that is why we are here. If You have Windows 7, Windows 8 or prior in your medical business please Contact Infinite Computing Technologies and ask about “Windows 7 End of Life”. We can handle the data backup, hardware configuration, and migration of your digital office upgrade.