Windows 7 is nearing end of support — what you need to do if you haven’t transitioned yet to Windows 10

Windows 7 is nearing end of support — what you need to do if you haven’t transitioned yet to Windows 10

In December 2018, 36.9% of desktop devices still ran Windows 7, in spite of the operating system being released way back in October 2009. Only recently has Windows 10 taken over its dated predecessor by only a small margin. However, extended support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. While customers with volume-licensing agreements with Microsoft can pay for an extended security updates plan for another three years, now is the time to consider an upgrade.

#1. Identify devices that need to be upgraded

When software reaches the end of its support life cycle, the developer will stop releasing any updates or patches that address critical security flaws. It’s imperative that you do not use systems that are no longer supported for storing or transmitting any sensitive data. This includes any machine running the outdated Windows 7 and any employee-owned devices used for work.

Fortunately, it won’t be necessary to upgrade your hardware since Windows 10 should run on any system capable of running Windows 7.

#2. Replace legacy systems

Although the system requirements are much the same for both Windows 7 and Windows 10, any machine that’s still running the former is likely running outdated applications, device drivers, or system firmware. If that’s the case, consider replacing the systems with newer ones that come with Windows 10 licenses.

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Another option — and one that doesn’t involve any costly upfront expenses — is to partner with a dependable cloud services provider and create virtual machines hosted in a remote data center. This way, you can always run the latest software without having to worry about upgrades.

#3. Develop a timeline and a budget plan

Replacing and upgrading technology costs time and money, so businesses with more complex networks should implement an efficient and cost-effective upgrade roadmap.

Any mission-critical systems, particularly those that handle sensitive data, should be upgraded first. Machines that aren’t connected to the internet should be placed on low priority. Examples are proprietary embedded systems used to control specific machines, so long as they don’t store or transmit any confidential data.

#4. Implement additional security controls

Enterprises with highly complicated networks cannot reasonably expect to upgrade all their systems overnight, or even within a few months. To reduce risks during the process, you must quarantine unsupported systems to keep them separate from newer ones.

On the other hand, machines that cannot be upgraded yet are required to perform certain tasks, should be disconnected from the network. Also, security controls must be in place to contain them.

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#5. Provide any necessary staff training

The learning curve for Windows 10 is minimal, and it’s easily the most user-friendly operating system Microsoft has ever released. However, many of your employees may still struggle with its interface. You should never assume that they’ll get back to work right away without any hiccups.

It’s a good idea to offer a short, simple, opt-in training session for new users to ensure that everyone gets the most out of the upgrade. Even more important is to clearly illustrate the benefits of using the new systems, since no one likes to be forced to use something just because it’s new.

Athens Micro helps businesses overcome the challenges of implementing new technology with cutting-edge cloud services and industry-leading expertise. Call us today to get the IT help you need.

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