UK councils still relying on Windows 7

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A number of UK councils could be hit with significant IT issues due to not updating their systems from Windows 7.

That's according to new research which claims that a shocking number of local authorities are still dependent on the aged software.

The report comes from IT software software provider Cloudhouse, which sent out an FOI request to discover the extent of the issue. The findings, which collate answers from 317 councils, found that nearly a fifth (17 per cent) are yet to plan a migration away from the operating system, first released in July 2009.

Cloudhouse's warning comes shortly after Microsoft began the two-year countdown to the end of life process for Windows 7, which will no longer be supported by the company after January 14th 2020 as it looks to focus primarily on Windows 10.

Cloudhouse found that only only one per cent of councils have completed a migration to Windows 10, with many complaining that migration between the two platforms was too time-consuming and difficult for their IT teams. Of those asked, the inability to move legacy apps to new software was named as the biggest bugbear, being highlighted by 40 per cent of respondents.

And with over a third (35 per cent) of IT teams claiming that previous migrations have taken between 1-2 years, preparations to move away from Windows 7 need to begin immediately so that companies are not left at risk following the deadline.

“The perils of running applications on Windows XP and 7 were highlighted by the widespread impact of the WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017,” said Mat Clothier, CEO, CTO & founder at Cloudhouse. 

“Security patches are not produced for legacy systems, such as XP, and Windows 7 will join the list of legacy operating systems at the start of 2020. Of course, upgrading to Windows 10 is the solution for improved security and performance, but with virtually all councils using bespoke apps created for Windows 7, they would need to partake in costly re-writes to make this apps compatible with Windows 10. However, with the use of compatibility containers, councils and private sector organisations alike are able quickly and reliably run apps on newer versions of Windows, without re-writing the applications.”