If you’ve been reading our blog for the past year, you’re aware of the following: Several Microsoft products are reaching their end of support (EOS) deadlines in January 2020. Now, if you’re new to our blog or would like to review what we’ve gone over about EOS, you’re in the right place.

First, EOS means End of Support. Most importantly, Microsoft is no longer sending security updates to several of its software products — including Windows Server 2008, Windows SBS 2011, SQL Server 2008, Exchange 2010, and Windows 7 — in January 2020.

If your organization is currently using any of the solutions noted above, it’s time to consider your options; otherwise, your business will face support gaps, exposing your organization to cyberattacks.

Here are four things Small/Medium Business (SMB) owners should know about Microsoft’s upcoming EOS deadlines.

Windows 10: Why you need its real-time protection offering
Unlike other operating systems (OSs), Windows 10 has Windows Security built-in, including an antivirus program called Windows Defender Antivirus, a Windows Firewall and other features to ensure your PCs and devices are protected from the evolving threat landscape.

To protect your network from cyberattacks, Windows Security regularly scans your devices and PCs for suspicious and malicious activities.

Also, Windows Security, through its cloud-delivered protection, automatically updates your Windows 10 devices and PCs with the latest features and security enhancements.

Still running Windows Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2? Time’s almost up!
If your servers are still running Windows Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2, there are two modernization paths available: upgrade or migrate.

Even though many businesses are moving their servers to the cloud, you may want to keep your servers on-premises. If you’d like to upgrade to Windows Server 2016, you need to first upgrade to Windows Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2.

Don’t need to keep your on-premises servers? Migrating to the cloud is probably the better option.

There are several benefits to migrating to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, including security updates; no-charge upgrades in Azure; and the option to adopt more cloud services.

Running Windows 7? It’s time to upgrade
If you still haven’t upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10, you’re not alone, but just because you’re in the company of others, doesn’t mean you should continue pushing off upgrading desktop computers at your business locations.

To avoid gaps in Windows 7 support, Microsoft has been urging its users to “keep the good times rolling by moving to Windows 10.”

There are a couple of options SMBs can take if they’re still running Windows 7 on their PCs.

First, businesses can upgrade their desktops to Windows 10. For businesses, Windows 10 Pro is recommended. Upgrading to Windows 10 allows businesses to sidestep additional hardware costs — unless their hardware is also out of date.

Buying new PCs is another option for businesses.

What Microsoft’s EOS Means for Line of Business Apps
While many of Microsoft’s products reaching EOS are Operating Systems, other applications are vulnerable, too, if your business doesn’t evaluate them appropriately.

Known as line of business (LOBs) applications, these programs must be updated if the Operating System they’re running on is either upgraded or migrated to the cloud.

Here’s a tip: Before migrating your LOB applications elsewhere, assess your inventory.

Determine the number of LOB applications your business uses daily. Review and evaluate each of them. Then, take some time to identify the individuals within your organization using your LOB applications.

With January EOS deadlines rapidly approaching, SMB owners should take time to review what they may need to do to avoid support gaps this new year.