Are you still using Windows 7? It’s time to upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible. Microsoft’s long-anticipated End of Support for Windows 7 was officially January 14, 2020, so software and security updates to Windows 7 are now no longer available.
Microsoft is encouraging Windows 7 users to upgrade to the Windows 10 operating system before they become a security risk to their organization. Whether you’re a small-to-mid-sized business or have a global presence and require Windows 7 to Windows 10 enterprise migraion, continuing to use Windows 7 could open your network to vulnerabilities and result in lost time from a data breach or other security compromise. Even if your network performance and stability seem unaffected at the moment, the potential risks alone should be sufficient incentive to upgrade to Windows 10. Note the cases of XP and Vista. Despite their loyal user base, these operating systems are no longer fit for use due to the discontinuation of security updates.
Microsoft’s recommended upgrade to Windows 10 is not breaking news. Notice of Microsoft’s End of Support for Windows 7 has been publicized since Microsoft’s 2016 free upgrade offer. But despite the long runway of warnings, many organizations are still holding on to Windows 7. Why are users procrastinating despite the dangers?
Here are the top three reasons why organizations clinging to Windows 7 ask us for help:
- Particularly for an enterprise organization with hundreds, or even thousands, of Microsoft Windows users, a Windows 7 to Windows 10 enterprise migration is a huge undertaking. If something goes wrong, chances are that all your users will be impacted, causing a dramatic loss of productivity. Many organizations have avoided making the switch due to the sheer scope and potential for things to go awry, resulting in network downtime or a cascade-effect of troubles. An upgrade glitch can impact your user base from the desktop to mobile users, teams to departments – anyone using the operating system across your organizational spectrum. So, understandably, there is a fear factor that fuels the “upgrade avoidance” behavior.
- Cost is another factor. The need to purchase a large number of new software licenses could be something you’ve chosen to delay until funds are available. That availability perhaps gets put off until the next quarter, then the next, then the next, until finally January 14, 2020 has and gone without completing the upgrade to Windows 10.
- And in today’s world of Digital Transformation, many organizations are just busy with other internal initiatives that have taken precedence over an upgrade to Windows 10, postponing the task for a more convenient time. New product development can’t be delayed! That RFP needs to be submitted ASAP! And what is our messaging going to be for this year? These daily “must-do’s” are critical path issues which, until now, may have superseded your organization’s transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Why upgrade to Windows 10 now?
Now is the time to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 and put that transition on your critical path, front, and center. Why the urgency? Security, security, security. As I mentioned, Microsoft is no longer providing security updates to Windows 7. The longer you go without implementing these updates, the more exposed you are to the various forces who make it their full-time job to infiltrate organizations with network susceptibilities. Hackers, malware, viruses, ransomware, and other potential security risks are all possible sources of network disruption without Microsoft’s most recent security updates. The ramifications of a cyber attack or network breach can be catastrophic, as we’ve seen in the news. And depending on your industry, you may be in breach of compliance if you don’t upgrade. For example, healthcare organizations must upgrade to Windows 10 legally in order to remain HIPAA compliant.
Keeping your devices and network safe is the primary business driver behind updating to Windows 10. Windows Defender Exploit Guard is just one of the new security benefits of Windows 10. It scans, blocks, removes malware and quarantines malicious programs before they can impact other devices on your network. Windows 10 also offers the option of subscribing to Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which is a cloud-based, more sophisticated service for managing security threats across your organization’s Windows 10 computers.
The security factor doesn’t just reside within your corporate network, Windows 10 Enterprise and Professional offers Windows Defender Application Guard. This protects you while browsing the web – if an employee unwittingly visits a malicious website and contracts malware, that malware is prevented from damaging the computer or your network, confined to a safe area.
How should enterprise organizations make the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10?
For enterprise organizations needing a large-scale Windows 7 to Windows 10 enterprise migration involving hundreds or even thousands of desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and user base who relies on comprehensive communications and collaboration functionality 24/7/365, it’s best to implement a standardized, automated, or task-oriented upgrade that will address all users in a cohesive, systematic methodology.
This might be an effort appropriate for your internal IT department, depending on their bandwidth and level of Microsoft expertise. Or you may achieve more success with engaging an outside organization specializing in assessing, integrating, implementing, monitoring and managing Microsoft products and services in the context of enterprise communications and collaboration.
Choosing a Windows 10 implementation partner
You will achieve the smoothest transition and the least business disruption by engaging a Microsoft Certified Partner with comprehensive expertise in the Microsoft portfolio, and a customer base demonstrating industry longevity in the marketplace. This provider should understand the nuances of how implementations should be managed with the least amount of downtime to keep your enterprise communications and collaborations environment up and running throughout the transition. The service provider should also be prepared to run testing and controls in place to ensure success at scale.
In assessing a service provider to manage your Windows 7 to Windows 10 enterprise migration, you may also want to discuss whether to take an automated approach or a task sequenced approach, depending on your network architecture. An automated approach reduces administrative interaction, but a task sequenced approach gives you a more refined level of control over functions like uninstalling drivers which are known to be problematic, restoring a PC to a previous state in the case of a failed upgrade, and any other specific custom details you want hands-on management for to achieve a business-ready state.
You may also choose to consider the aspect of Change Management during the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10, mainly if you are a global organization with multiple regional, national, and international locations. Depending on the state of your current infrastructure, the provider you choose can serve as a trusted advisor to hold your hand through this transition, taking the burden off your IT team.
In closing, the time to upgrade from Microsoft Windows 7 to Windows 10 is now, before you suffer the consequences of security gaps left in the wake of Microsoft’s End of Support for Windows 7. Engage a Microsoft Certified Partner with expertise in the entire Microsoft portfolio to guide you through your update and enjoy the benefits of a smooth upgrade to Windows 10.Back