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On 10 October 2017, extended support for Microsoft Office 2007 will come to an end. That’s less than a month away, so if you’re still using Office 2007, you need to think about upgrading straightaway. Mainstream support ended some time ago, which means that only critical issues have been fixed for the last few years. And once October comes around, there’ll be no updates, patches or bug fixes at all – leaving your business open to risk.


As well as Office 2007, the 2007 versions of SharePoint, Project Portfolio Server and Visio will also leave extended support on 10 October 2017. Support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 has already finished, ending in April and followed by Windows Phone 8.1 in July.


Why it’s important to update your systems

There are several reasons why it’s a bad idea to stick with unsupported software:

  • Your business could be an easy target for cyber threats. Even with state of the art antivirus and a modern web browser, your IT systems could still miss viruses delivered through an infected Office document attached to an email. Later versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint et al should pick these up – but Office 2007 might not.
  • Your systems may no longer ‘talk to’ each other. You could find that the software you use to run your business becomes incompatible with Office 2007; for example, you may have problems running Sage reports on Excel. Software vendors might also withdraw or limit their support if you keep using an outdated version of Office.
  • As of 31 October 2017, you may not be able to send or receive emails if you still use Exchange Server 2007. That’s because Microsoft is changing how its Outlook email system works, meaning that Exchange Server 2007 will be unable to connect to Office 365 mailboxes. If you’re still using the old server but your staff have upgraded their desktop software, they won’t be able to access their emails.
  • Windows Phone may not be the most popular phenomenon the IT world has ever seen, but that doesn’t mean you’re not at risk when it comes to end of life. As with Office 2007, there’ll be no more updates – and that means security, non-security and online technical content – and no more free or paid assisted support from Microsoft.


The benefits of upgrading

Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom just because these products are reaching the end of their useful lives. Yes, you’ll need to invest in some new technology, but this could bring a host of advantages to your business. These include:

  • Increased protection against viruses, malware and ransomware.
  • New and improved software with enhanced features and functionality, leading to increased efficiency and productivity.
  • Improved communications between team members, especially those who work remotely or are field-based.
  • The ability to co-author documents and collaborate on projects in real time from different locations.
  • Higher staff morale as your team will have more flexibility around how and where they work – and are less likely to be frustrated by outdated systems!


Making the right decisions

When it comes to upgrading, you have a range of choices depending on your business needs and budget. For Office 2007, you could simply take a small step up and switch to Office 2013 or 2016, which work in much the same way. Or you could go for the cloud-based Office 365, which offers a range of plans for different business types and sizes.


Unlike traditional Office suites, Office 365 is subscription-based, so your licence will be priced ‘by user’ rather than ‘by device’, which could save you some cash. If you’re still using Exchange Server 2007, it’s also a great way to kill two birds with one stone, as some plans include business-class email services, so there’s no need for a separate email server.


As for Windows Phone 8.1, you could upgrade to Phone 10. However, it’s debatable how long this will be supported – and it’s not compatible with all types of smartphone running Phone 8.1. It could be time to bite the bullet and switch your allegiance to a new operating system…


Need a little help? Jalapeno are on hand

If you want to upgrade but aren’t sure which options to choose, we can help. We’ll carry out a FREE, no obligation audit of your current IT set-up and recommend the changes and improvements you could make to drive your business forward into the future. Get in touch today to find out more.