A legacy operating system (OS) is a platform that is no longer extensively used due to the availability of newer or updated versions. Once an OS has reached its end of life, the OS developer discontinues its support and stops releasing patches or updates for it, unless it is deemed extremely critical.
Microsoft has announced that Windows 7 systems and servers running on Server 2008 R2 have recently reached their end of life. However, reports predict that Windows 7 will account for 20 percent of all Windows , even in February 2021, a year after support was discontinued. The lack of constant patches or updates for this legacy OS would expose its users to a plethora of security vulnerabilities with no fix available.
Despite the risks, many organizations continue to stick with a legacy OS. A few factors that drive them towards this decision are:
Applications are the biggest threat vectors in any organization, and when they are forced to operate within a risky legacy OS, opting for an application control solution that ensures security is vital. Features such as application whitelisting, blacklisting, and endpoint privilege management must be used in concert to create a fortress to repeal cyberthreats.
By creating whitelist and blacklist policies, every application will be checked and allowed to execute, only if authorized. This enables organizations to create trust-centric lists that contain only business critical applications. Additionally, endpoint privilege management features can also be used to establish the principle of least privilege. This ensures that even the applications that pass the authority check will only be allowed to run with the least privilege necessary for the job, thereby fortifying the security of legacy systems.
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