Mobility

Why Windows Phone users are now a serious security risk to their employers

Microsoft has ended support for Windows Phone 8.1, meaning users will no longer receive important updates. Here's how your business can respond.

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Image: CNET

Windows Phone is dead. On July 11, Microsoft ended support for the Windows Phone 8.1, effectively killing off the Windows Phone brand. The Windows 10 Phone is still around, but the company hasn't gone out of its way to add new features.

Being that the phone is no longer supported, it loses out on key services offered by Microsoft. "There will be no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates," a Microsoft support page said.

While the overall Windows Phone market share dropped below 1% in early 2016, there are still some holdouts. As such, IT admins should take inventory of any user with a Windows Phone device, begin the decommissioning process, and consider some alternatives.

If you need help with this process, check out the Hardware decommissioning policy template and the Hardware inventory policy template from Tech Pro Research.

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If a user in your organization needs a new device to replace their unsupported Windows Phone, there are a few paths you can take. The first option is to replace the phone with another smartphone.

There are a host of premium smartphones available on both iOS and Android, but being that the Windows Phone 8.1 OS was introduced more than three years ago, a mid-level device could offer a comparable experience. It simply boils down to how much you want to spend.

To save money, admins could look to budget options like the 2.45-inch Jelly Pro phone. There are also other devices that offer similar kinds of connectivity, and dual-SIM capabilities, which are nice features for business travelers.

The second option is to forgo another physical device altogether, opting instead for a virtual phone that can be used with the employee's personal phone. The the Hypori vPhone, for example, connects to a virtual phone in the cloud and stores no company data on the user's device, making deploying and decommissioning it very easy.

What do you think?

What are your plans for replacing your Windows Phone? Tell us in the comments or on social media.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Microsoft officially ended support for the Windows Phone 8.1 on July 11, 2017, meaning users of that OS will no longer receive security updates.
  2. Windows Phone market share officially dropped below 1% in 2016, but any remaining users could present a vulnerability to their organization.
  3. To replace corporate Windows Phone devices, admins should consider budget Android devices or virtual phone options to keep users connected.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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