Legacy Workstations Security – What to do when you’re no longer supported

Operating on an old laptop? Have a bunch of old desktops in the office?

In light of Microsoft ceasing support of Windows 7 last January, new security concerns revolve around protecting outdated desktops and laptops.  This is pertinent whether people are still working remotely, if they’ve already begun returning to the office, or a combination of the two. 

In a 2019 survey from SpiceWorks, almost 80% of businesses said they still utilized at least one Windows 7 system on their network.  Approximately a quarter stated they planned to migrate away only after support ended earlier this year.  As of this June, StatCounter asserts that around 20% of Windows users are still on the workstation.  The trend was decreasing but has leveled out in recent months.  Agencies like the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) even continue using it on a number of devices.  This is also highly prevalent across all levels of governmental institutions, factory floor facilities at manufacturing industries, as well as laboratories and medical device manufacturers (MDM).  For various reasons, especially the cost associated with replacing legacy workstations, concerns of potential performance disruption, or the time and effort it would take for rollout, these organizations have been unable to upgrade; this, despite the fact that Microsoft was offering free upgrades to Windows 10 until recently.

Naturally, however, older workstations with antiquated operating systems are at the most risk for data breaches.  We have already seen hackers exploiting the current situation for their own gain.  Just recently, Zoom had to release a patch for Windows 7 users to fix a critical vulnerability.  The question therefore becomes, how can one rectify their vulnerabilities easily and without breaking their budget?  How can one bring their firm or agency into compliance with regulations like HIPAA, GDPR and CCPA, while remaining on outdated, unsupported systems?

What’s the solution?

Enter NetLib® Security’s patented Encryptionizer® solution.  Ultimately, what every cyber thief is after is sensitive information, which makes it vital to protect and prevent them from ever reaching their target.  Of course, that is an unrealistic expectation, because hackers do get in, and often.  Using encryption, however, renders the stored data indecipherable and thus useless to any unauthorized eyes that have breached the perimeter.

For example, mission critical company data is now resting, insecurely, on a machine running Windows 7, or any earlier version that is likewise no longer supported.  With NetLib Encryptionizer, the data files can be transparently encrypted to prevent access by any unauthorized individual or group.  An Encryptionizer configuration utility and Encryption Key work together to monitor and secure the data.  Installing the software also installs a Key Management Service and Encryption Driver, which keep track of user action for legitimacy and assist in the encryption/decryption processes, respectively. 

Accomplishing all this requires no changes to the application or additional programming.  Nor is there any impact on system performance.  Encryptionizer can be implemented without disrupting work processes.  Whether you are using SQL Server, SQL Express, Microsoft Access, or a custom application, our goal is to help organizations give their sensitive data the maximum level of protection.  To that end, Encryptionizer offers simplified security for these legacy workstations and servers and new systems alike.