Another major new technology problem is heading towards businesses in Lancashire, with around half of them thought to be affected.

In January next year (2020), a large amount of standard Microsoft software reaches the end of its life. That means it will no longer be supported by Microsoft and will not be safe to use.

This includes the popular Windows 7 operating system; Office 2010; and some software that powers company servers.

“The problem is that once Microsoft ends the life of this software in just 12 months’ time, it will become a shining beacon for hackers,” warned local data security expert Philip Darnell at Darnell IT Solutions.

“We already believe that some hackers are storing up vulnerabilities they have found in this software. By waiting till Microsoft stops supporting it, they effectively become unstoppable.”

He added: “Our advice to local companies is not to risk using this software past January 2020, and to get expert advice about replacing it this year.

“It can take months to implement replacement software, so businesses shouldn’t leave it till the end of the year.”

The software that will be affected includes:

• Windows 7

• Office 2010

• Exchange 2010

• Small Business Server 2011

• Windows Server 2008

Philip has written a non-techy guide, showing local business owners and managers how to identify whether they are using any of this software, just by what they see on their screen.

To read the original article, please visit