As technology improves, software providers and hardware manufacturers discontinue their support of older software and devices. A significant event that may impact your practice is just around the corner. Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 on January 14, 2020. This means that Microsoft will no longer provide improvements, bug fixes, or security updates for these systems. In turn, other software providers, like Google Chrome, Firefox, EHRs, and other types of programs will discontinue supporting Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 functionality with their software over time. Hardware and device manufacturers will follow suit.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Even though you may have antivirus and other security measures in place for your computers and network, your systems will become significantly more vulnerable to attacks such as ransomware and other viruses. If you do not update, you will need to list the vulnerability on your annual risk assessment documentation.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO STAY SECURE AND COMPLIANT?
The best action to take is to upgrade your software to ensure that your operating system and related components continue to receive up-to-date security and other Microsoft updates. Maintaining sufficient security is a requirement of the HIPAA Security Rule. Title 45 C.F.R. § 164.306 states, “Covered entities and business associates must do the following: (1) Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all electronic protected health information the covered entity or business associate creates, receives, maintains, or transmits. (2) Protect against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information.”
Contact your IT support or go to Microsoft’s website to upgrade as soon as possible. It is the best way to minimize any gaps in security or functionality of your network and operating system and reduce the risk of malware or a breach. Further information can be found at www.support.microsoft.com