The tech time bomb that could floor your business

When Microsoft pulls support for Windows 7 in 2020, nearly a half of all Windows PCs will be vulnerable to cyber attack

By Tim Gibson

There are two words that, if mentioned in the same sentence, generally incite a negative reaction. They are, unfortunately, “NHS” and “IT”.

    ...users will no longer benefit from regular security updates, bug fixes and technical support.  

For all its undisputed brilliance, our health service doesn’t get on with computers. Remember the ill-fated National Programme for IT (NPfIT): a seven-year programme that was supposed to revolutionise IT and telephony in the NHS by delivering greater connectivity and uniformity, but actually led to inefficiency and huge waste.

Perhaps the most high profile IT-related failure for the NHS was in 2018, when it was subjected to a cyber attack that cost something in the region of £92m. The Wannacry hack hit computers across the globe. It affected about 1pc of the NHS’s care and led to 19,000 appointment cancellations because healthcare providers couldn’t access their systems.

Wannacry was a ransomware attack. Users of affected computers would see a message informing them that they’d been hacked, and needed to pay a ransom to free their machine.

The fascinating thing is that, had the NHS paid to upgrade its operating system from Windows XP, it wouldn’t have been vulnerable to the attack.

XP was 17 years old in 2018, and Microsoft had withdrawn support for the system. That meant it was vulnerable to cyber attack, because updates were no longer issued to protect from the latest threats. Following the Wannacry attack, the NHS spent £150m upgrading its technical infrastructure ­– including an upgrade to Windows 10.

The NHS learned its lesson the hard way about the need to upgrade software so that it is always protected. But something like 46.1pc of the UK’s PCs will become vulnerable to a similar attack in January 2020, unless they are upgraded from Windows 7.

    “If your organisation is deemed responsible for a data breach, it can face fines of up to €20m,..."  

The reason is simple: as it did with XP, Microsoft is withdrawing support for Windows 7. The process is called “End of Life” and, as IT specialist Lucid Systems makes plain, it means that users will no longer benefit from regular security updates, bug fixes and technical support.

“There is nothing to stop users sticking with Windows 7 after January 2020,” explains Just Recruitment director and former IT consultant Peter Foy. “The system will still work, although it will become increasingly buggy over time. But the real risk is in relation to cyber security: with no protection against the latest threats, computers running Windows 7 will be highly vulnerable to a security breach. As the NHS’s Wannacry experience makes plain, that can be very costly indeed.

“In an age of GDPR, the risks of leaving yourself open to a cyber attack go beyond service disruption,” Mr Foy continues. “If your organisation is deemed responsible for a data breach, it can face fines of up to €20m, or 4pc of turnover (whichever is higher). What’s more, the reputational cost can be severe, and take a long time to recover from, as the NHS found out.”

For Windows 7 users, therefore, the choice is plain: upgrade by 14 January 2020 (the date when support is withdrawn), or leave yourself open to a devastating attack.

As Mr Foy concludes: “When you put it like that, there’s hardly a choice to be made at all.”

Published: 25 April 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like to read – Ten of the most common “neuromyths”

You may also like – The future of work

Jobs currently available

New job
Electrical Wireman
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910175
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Electrical Wire person on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex.

The role will involve mechanical and electrical assembly, wire and electrically test distribution and MCCB boards, cabinets and cable harnesses. The role also has the potential for new product development by building prototype boards and testing boards before product launch.

Duties:

  • Build and test distribution and MCCB panels to the standards specified by the latest electrical regulations: BS EN 61439 and BS7671 including energy metering and surge suppression devices.
  • Read, understand and work from technical electrical CAD drawings and wiring diagrams.
  • To pick and check all component quantity and quality before each job.
  • To build and assemble wiring loom kits using a variety of cable crimp hand tools.
  • Electrical testing, fault finding and resolution.
  • Production of Test Certificates.
  • To work using own initiative with limited supervision.
  • Maintain manufacturing records including: copy test certification, wiring diagrams, layout drawings and production sheets.

Requirements:

  • Previous strong experience in Low Voltage panel building environment.
  • Knowledge of metering requirements and installation.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Flash Testing Certified.
Read more
Graphic Designer
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910168
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Graphic Designer on behalf of a company based in Colchester, Essex.

They are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Graphic Designer to join their team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and producing marketing material for nine businesses across the UK
  • Each business has their own distinct brand identity, so you must be willing to adapt as the situation demands
  • Manage the production of their 300 page brochure
  • Design other promotional material; for example posters and flyers; for use in their sites
  • Liaising with 3rd parties to design and produce physical promotional materials
  • Negotiating prices
  • Experience with website design is preferable
  • Experience with running business social media accounts also preferable

Experience in a similar role or relevant qualification is a must for this opportunity

  • Relevant extensive experience in design programs - for example, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver - is required
Read more
Designer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: discussed on application
Location: Chelmsford, South Woodham Ferrers
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910167
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based near South Woodham Ferrers.

This is a fantastic opportunity if you have a Product Design background and can offer Retail or POS Design experience.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Create new products, including 3D designs, prototyping and testing
  • Execute robust design process and continuous improvement
  • Take client brief either from Account Manager or Client
  • Time management and planning workload with Head of Design
  • A ‘can do’ attitude

Qualifications:

  • Excellent level of knowledge using SolidWorks
  • Good level of knowledge using Adobe Suite
  • Experience with the POS sector would be advantageous
  • Product Design degree would be preferred
  • Good problems solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Word & Excel skills
Read more
Administrator
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: £16,500 - £17,000 per annum
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910164
About the role

Just Recruitment is working with one of Suffolk’s most promising mortgage companies. Established in 2014, this company is looking to take on a skilled Administrator to support its rapid expansion.

Your duties will include:

  • Supporting the mortgage brokers in their day-to-day activities
  • Electronic Filing and record-keeping
  • Checking and submitting mortgage applications
  • Progressing cases
  • Speaking to members of the public, both in-person and over the phone

Ideally, you will:

  • Have experience in an administrative role
  • Possess an excellent telephone manner
  • Be diligent and detail-oriented
  • Be highly computer literate, including familiarity with Microsoft Packages
  • Have a great sense of humour

Working hours:

35 per week – Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, with an hour off for lunch

Read more