As many of us know, Microsoft will be terminating its service and security support for Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. It comes at a time when a vast majority of businesses are using it as their default operating system. And even though Microsoft has been advertising Windows 7's end-of-life, many organizations are reticent in making the transition - looking at the whole situation as having to fix something not broken.
Statistics also show that a whopping 31% of IT and cybersecurity professionals from around the world believe that the Windows 7 end-of-life has already occurred, when, in fact, it's due for January 2020. Besides, only 30% knew when it would happen, while 44% felt unprepared or were unsure about what to do next.
There are, of course, several challenges associated with upgrading or replacing the operating system of an organization. For starters, many organizations have a large number of legacy apps, which may or may not work equally as well on Windows 10. Second, this transition will require a fair degree of time, manually testing compatibility processes and ensuring that everything works as it should.
And while some have already made the transition, others are still trying to figure out the best approach that will have the least impact on the day-to-day operations. The biggest worry, however, comes in the form of securing vulnerable endpoints such as remote workers and those operating off the network.
Windows 10 Presents and Easier Transition
Transitioning from an older to a newer version of an operating system has traditionally been a challenge; organizations had to go through every few years. This time, however, Microsoft looked into ways of streamlining this operation for organizations using its system.
For instance, Microsoft has offered more options to make it easier to combine PC management with cloud computing. Also, they've encouraged people to adopt Windows 10 on their personal computers since 2016, thus lowering the need for employee training and familiarity when Windows 10 will become standard in business.
Furthermore, for those using Windows 7 Pro and Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft will extend their security updates for three years after January 2020, offering organizations more time to develop a transition strategy. This offer will come at a cost for customers in Volume Licensing and will sell on a per-device basis. The price will also double with every passing year ($50 in the first year, $100 the second year, $200 third year, per device.) This package is only intended to maintain security, not to introduce any new features.
Windows 7 End-of-Life Preparation
The best way to prepare for this inevitability is by starting as early as possible. The first step should be to make an inventory of all applications that need testing for Windows 10 compatibility. Categorize them based on criticality, security, and needs. You can also use the Windows Insider Program which lets you test updates before their release so that you make an informed decision about what a particular update will be able to deliver.
The areas that you will need to focus your efforts the most when it comes to testing will be security, mission-criticality, lowering downtime, and limiting disruption. Least Privilege Accounts and Application Control, for instance, are two upgrades that will improve your overall safety in Windows 10.
Making the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is something that many organizations would like to avoid, but it's something that they'll have to do, regardless. To help you streamline the entire operation and find the best strategy that will fit your needs, Managed Solution is at your service.
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