Just over two weeks ago the WannaCry Ransomware appeared on a Friday afternoon. By the end of the weekend it had encrypted thousands of computers across the world.
Initial blame was made on Windows XP machines, but as the incidents panned out, it turned out that most victims were using Windows 7.
Actually, only a tiny percentage were XP based. Due to several NHS Trusts being affected, the press jumped on this story, and the spotlight unfairly was focussed on the NHS for some time.
98% of the incidents were on Windows 7 devices. So, what caused this? Well, these computers had not been updated to Windows 8, or Windows 10. They were two generations of Operating System (OS) out of date. Windows XP and 7 are no longer supported by Microsoft.
Businesses, government and home users are all responsible for updating their computers with the regular windows updates. Microsoft provide these for free, and when you shut down your PC or laptop, they install automatically. When you next restart your PC or laptop, they install the updates.
My advice is to purchase new computers in batches, maybe a third are updated each year. This means two thirds of your computers will have the legacy OS and one third will be the latest. Using this rotation will ensure you only have two Operating Systems to support. All your current Information Systems, applications, ERP, MRP, timesheet and other third-party applications should work with the previous and current/new OS. Make sure these are tested so you know your critical systems are compatible with the latest OS before you roll out across many users.
This spreads out the capital purchases, and makes sure you keep IT hardware costs manageable each year. Also, you’ll have an easier pathway to new Operating System, which will keep you more cyber safe as an organisation.