If you’re still running Microsoft Office 2007, you’re going to run into issues in October. A couple dozen Microsoft programs will reach the end of life on October 10, 2017, most notably Microsoft Office Suite 2007. Microsoft is also making a change to Outlook that means Office 365 users with Outlook 2007 will stop receiving emails. If you’re running these programs it’s time to upgrade or risk significant security vulnerabilities and lost productivity.
End of Life = security vulnerabilities
End of life (also called the end of service) means you’ll no longer receive updates and support from Microsoft.
Running programs that are out of service may not sound like much of an issue. If you’re running a program old enough to be reaching the end of service, you probably don’t care too much about getting the latest and greatest updates anyway, right?
But there can be some pretty serious consequences, mainly around security. If you’re not receiving updates, you do not get patches to newly discovered vulnerabilities and security holes. Cybercriminals can and will exploit these unpatched vulnerabilities.
Remember the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year? That exploited a known security hole that had already been patched. The computers that were affected hadn’t installed in the patches. In the case of people running older versions of Windows that had already reached the end of life, they hadn’t received the patch. Microsoft did make an exception in that case and released an emergency patch for older versions of Windows, but that is NOT the norm.
Yes, operating systems are different than Office programs, but vulnerabilities in programs like Word and PowerPoint and Outlook can still be exploited.
Outlook 2007 will no longer receive email
In addition to reaching the end of life, Microsoft is making a change to the way they handle email connectivity in Office 365. If you’re running Outlook 2007 on the desktop, it will no longer work. Let us repeat that is big bold letters: On October 31, 2017, Outlook 2007 (and older) will no longer work for Office 365 users.
You will still be able to receive email on the Outlook web app and your mobile device, but the desktop Outlook program isn’t going to get email. If you’re company uses an Exchange Server, you will not be affected.
If you’re interested in the technical details, you can read them here. Basically, it boils down to this: Outlook will be using a more modern connectivity protocol in Office 365. The new protocol will not work with Outlook 2007.
If you’re running a newer version of Outlook, but haven’t installed updates in a while, you may have issues, too. Check this page (about halfway down) to see what update you need to have installed.
What to Do
If you still have Office 2007, you’ll need to upgrade to a newer version by October 10, 2017, to continue to receive updates. If you’re using Outlook 2007 (included in the Office 2007 Suite), you will need to upgrade to a newer version by October 31, 2017, at the latest.
If you’re using a newer version of Outlook that’s not compatible with the new protocol (check the link above), install the latest updates and make sure you have the appropriate Service Pack installed (if applicable).
Really, you should be keeping these (and your other software and systems) up to date with the latest patches and updates. No, we don’t mean you need to upgrade to the newest version of Office or Windows as soon as they come out. But you do need to install the updates when they’re available – they contain critical security patches. Putting off installing the updates means your systems are vulnerable to attack.
If you need help upgrading to a new version of Office, including Outlook, please reach out – we can help!