Is Your Healthcare Organization Prepared for Windows 7 End of Life?

Doctor typing on keyboard

According to a report by Forescout, “About 71 percent of medical devices will be running unsupported Windows operating systems (OS) by January 14, 2020”, foreshadowing the sorry state of cybersecurity in the healthcare industry.

The HIPAA Security Rule 45 C.F.R. § 164.308 (a)(5)(ii)(B) specifically requires updated patches on all systems – which will cease for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 post January 2020, unless you pay for Extended Security Updates (ESU). If you continue using software that is unsupported and therefore, not being patched, you will no longer be HIPAA compliant. 

The healthcare industry has a large range of connected medical devices, which has increased the attack surface for cybercriminals. Once the Windows 7  end of life (EOL) date arrives, sensitive healthcare data will be vulnerable to security breaches if new software vulnerabilities are disclosed, jeopardizing your organization’s reputation. There are also, of course,  considerable financial risks associated with HIPAA non-compliance. 

The infamous WannaCry Attack of 2017 crippled hundreds of thousands of computers used in hospitals and healthcare practices in the United Kingdom. This cost the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK, 92 million pounds with 19000 appointments being canceled. At the time of the attacks, most of the healthcare units were using unpatched systems, including many running Windows XP and Windows 7. 

So, it is essential for all healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, doctors, chiropractors, dentists, psychiatrists, and others, small and big alike, to upgrade both PCs and medical equipment to the latest version of Windows for desktops ⁠— i.e. Windows 10. 

How to Start Your Migration to Windows 10 with Minimum Disruption

Here are a few elements to take into consideration before you begin your migration: 

Will Windows 10 OS run on your current devices?

One of the first steps is to check whether Windows 10 will run on your current computers and medical devices. If not, you might have to purchase new devices to replace the existing ones. 

How to Start Your Migration to Windows 10 with Minimum Disruption

EHR systems are a challenge to implement, maintain and update. Healthcare providers will have to assess the compatibility of their medical records systems with Windows 10. If your old system doesn’t work with Windows 10, you can run your system in compatibility mode by following the procedure here. Or you could upgrade your EHR system. A new or substantially upgraded EHR system is known to work well with the latest version of operating systems.  

Do you have a plan in place to replace or upgrade your PCs and medical devices?

If you don’t have a migration plan in place, now’s the time to implement one. Mass replacement of devices might put your healthcare business on hold. Plan a phased migration to reduce the risks associated with this type of complex undertaking. 

Using an updated operating system and thereby protecting your data is the key to HIPAA compliance. Upgrade to Windows 10 now before it’s too late.  

Hear from our special guest speaker Greg Schulz, Microsoft MVP, and learn about the risks and key considerations associated with Windows 7 migration.

Learn about:

  • Security Risks if you Don’t Migrate
  • The advantages of Win 10 and Win Server 2019
  • Microsoft Software Update Models
  • Your Options for Staying or Migrating
  • And more

 Webinar Date & Time: Wednesday, 28 August, 2019 at 2pm EDT

 Register Here


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