The end of support for Microsoft Windows 7 is nigh (14th January 2020), and it's fair to say not everyone is over the moon about migrating to Windows 10.
But without regular security updates and patches, staying on Windows 7 leaves you vulnerable to the increasing number of professional cyber criminals, who exploit any loopholes they can find. When Wannacry crippled large parts of the NHS (& many other organisations globally) it was exploiting a vulnerability that Microsoft had released a patch for, but some users had not installed. After January 14th, they'll be no more patches for Windows 7 unless you want to pay an additional charge for your individual organisation.
The silver lining of upgrading is that not only do you get all the performance enhancements of Windows 10, Microsoft have been calling this 'the last version of Windows', because you won't need to purchase and upgrade to a new OS in this way again, instead getting full upgrades around twice a year alongside the regular updates and patches. Hurrah!
Now we're all braced for change, we want to help smooth the way for a rollout across your organisation, so here are our top tips to make your Window 10 migration journey a little less painful:
Teamwork makes the dreamwork...
And when it comes to a smooth migration, it's essential you've got the right people on your team from the get go. As well as the appropriate technical and project management, make sure that you bring into the mix experts from the different areas of the business to ensure that their needs are considered and planned for, and they can also act as a point of contact for the different user groups about the migration. How you do this will depend on the size of your business and the complexity of the migration.
Remember to lean on your IT provider if you need support, whether for specific tasks like planning, asset-tagging and deployment if you're going down the new devices route, or even the whole project if you're struggling with resource. Let them take the pressure off where you need additional expertise, so you can concentrate on other priorities. Of course, we'd recommend having a chat with us at Probrand, but we're biased!
I love it when a plan comes together
Now you've gathered your A-team it goes without saying that you need to draft a plan for migration that keeps everyone on track and minimises the risk of anything going wrong or data 'going missing'. Nowadays there's a lot more complexity in the types of devices and connected devices on systems, the numerous ways that software and applications connect and depend on each other, and of course you've possibly got different OS running on different machines across your business. Skipping or rushing through planning is going to cause you more issues in the long run, as tempting as it is when you're under pressure.
Testing, testing, 1,2,3
Windows 10 is compatable with most off the shelf software, but there's a potential that any bespoke software and applications that you use could struggle. Be sure to go through a round of thorough compatibility testing to check your software will function properly on the new OS. The same goes for hardware. If you’re planning on rolling out Windows 10 onto existing PCs, Laptops and tablets – you’ll want to ensure it will work and be supported.
A handy tool to make use of is the Windows 10 Compatibility Scan, which is pre-built into the Windows 10 setup.exe program, this will give you transparency over whether your devices meet the basic requirements for Windows 10.
Embrace the new, now
With Windows 10, everything from Group Policy to Imaging start to look legacy. It’s 2019 – there are now better ways to deliver management settings, configuration profiles, and onboarding of new Windows 10 machines is now radically streamlined.
In line with making sure you have the right training in place, start learning about these new techniques – you never know when the old approach will be retired for good!
Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.
Windows is Windows right? Well, Windows 10 has a new range features that will enhance user productivity but if you don’t help your users with some baseline training to embrace this new functionality, then not only will you be missing out on the business benefits of increased productivity, you're likely going to end up giving your helpdesk a massive headache as users try to figure it out for themselves.
Find out more about End of Support for Windows 7 (and Windows Server 2008) on the 14th January 2020, and how we can support you.