January 14, 2020 is a special day for Microsoft Corporation (you know that little company that controls 82.88 percent of the computer software market share). On that date, Microsoft will end the life of some of the major software that businesses use. End of life means that the manufacturer will no longer support the product. This list includes:
Microsoft will also end the life of their SQL 2008 and 2008 R2 database software on July 9, 2019 (replaced by SQL 2017) as well as Office 2010 on October 13, 2020 (replaced by Office 2019 or Office 365).
Okay, so its end of life, no big deal, we will replace it when it does not work anymore , Well yes it’s actually a big deal because regulated environments (example medical) are mandated to have “reasonable security measures” in place to protect patient data. That is not an easy requirement to meet to begin with and when software goes end of life there are no more security patches, improvements, etc. available for it. So the “not an easy requirement” now becomes an impossible requirement.
This means that over the next 13 months business need to carefully plan their IT budget expenditures because they could be significant. It also is likely that there will be longer wait times for specific hardware that has to be replaced or technical services to get the new “stuff” implemented. So not only is budget planning a smart idea, but when to do it is also important.
Your technical services company may have already have laid this out for you along with the options available and the expected costs. If not, you should expect something from them by the end of the year. If you don’t…….well ‘nuff said – find someone who will get a plan in front of you.
For medical practices who have their EHR applications in the cloud all your worries are (a) workstations and notebooks – are they on Windows 7? If yes, can they be upgraded to Windows 10? If so, what is the expected cost per device? If no, what is the expected cost for each replacement and getting it implemented? (b) If you have one or more servers on premise, what operating system do they use? If it’s Server 2008 or 2008 R2 then what is the cost of upgrading or replacing it?
If you have your EHR applications on premise at the clini,c then the items above as well as what database software version is being used also needs to be addressed. And remember SQL 2008/2008 R2 will be end of life in July 2019 and the application providers will likely drop support for it at the same time (many have already sent out notices regard this).
These software upgrades and hardware replacements will not be “seamless and transparent” to you or your staff. But they can be planned and phased in so that the impact to your business is reduced. The first steps are to make sure you understand the costs and the risks.
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