As the end of support date for Windows 7 approaches, companies who have not yet looked into migration to Windows 10 will need to begin planning to ensure they beat the January 2020 cut off. Failure to do so could mean that the business is running an entire estate of PCs no longer receiving security patches from Microsoft.

Mainstream media outlets have been running stories regarding the topic throughout 2019 and our previous blog made reference to Windows 7, along with other Microsoft products, coming out of support in the short to mid term.

Why all the noise?

With the scale of cyber attacks increasing year on year it is more important than ever to ensure that your infrastructure is as protected as it can be. As previous, high profile attacks such as the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 have shown, running unsupported operating systems within an organisation can provide easy pickings for hackers and cyber criminals. Instances such have this have made cyber security front page news and Microsoft themselves have been very vocal about the need to run supported systems and ensured that information regarding version upgrades, new releases and end of support dates is now easier to find than ever.

What are my options?

Most small to medium business will be running OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer – versions of Windows 7 on their PCs. This is the Operating System pre-installed on the machine as it comes out of the box and once licenses are activated they can be patched with updates and fixes as normal. Upgrade paths to Windows 10 can be accessed in a similar way and the web is full of information on how this can be achieved.

Another consideration might be to use this as an opportunity to look at a cloud option and utilise products such as Microsoft 365 for Business. This subscription based product runs on a per user / per month cost and along with an upgrade to the latest Operating System and continuous security patches you can also access a whole host of other features such as Office applications, online storage, device management tools and the like. This may be an appealing prospect to anyone also considering an Office upgrade in future months as the easy migration path and flat, monthly cost could make the planning of such a task more bearable than previous upgrades for those in IT and finance.

What should I be aware of?

As with any upgrade, testing in isolation should be carried out before you set a roll out date. Some 3rd party applications may be incompatible with the latest Operating Systems; check with all 3rd party providers that their application will run in Windows 10, and if not, are you able to upgrade the application as part of your support?

Also, provision time immediately after the roll out to do the typical ‘hand-holding’ tasks which inevitably arise when users are presented with a new Operating System. They may be unfamiliar with the new layout or visuals within Windows 10 so setting aside time on the first morning after the roll out is important in getting the user base up and running as quickly as possible so that they can get on with what they are there to do.

If I’m still unsure, where can I go for help?

Your IT Service Provider will likely have been involved in numerous upgrade projects and by now will have familiarity in getting people moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Whilst no two migrations are ever the same, the potential ‘gotchas’ are generally typical and an experienced Service Provider will likely have done the course and distance, as it were, building the knowledge to overcome any such issues before they impact on the business.

Here at Skanco we have a wealth of experience in running such projects; wherever you are up to in your process, be it initial planning stage, testing or about to go live and feel that advice from the experts would be beneficial, please contact your Account Manager or Helpdesk@skanco.co.uk to begin a dialogue around getting you migrated and protecting your business.

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