Are you ready for Microsoft’s pulling the support plug on Windows 7?

January 14, 2020 is just around the corner (at least when it comes to business networks). Last month we talked about the business implications of the end of windows 7 support and touched on the inherent security risks, including whether your other core business solutions will continue to function.

Different businesses are approaching this reality in different ways, but one thing’s for sure: an unsupported operating system puts your business network and every machine connected to it at risk.

Making the Transition from Windows 7

While many organizations have started the move, many others are running out of time to educate themselves and facilitate the transition. To keep your business network running smoothly, you will need to deploy services that proactively update your current operating system.

If you handle the changeover yourself, there are a host of tasks you must perform if you want to mitigate what could be substantial disruption to your network and organization.

  • Make sure everything is backed up before anyone attempts to make changes to any computer or network operating systems, hardware or other line-of-business software. It should be a standard practice to frequently backup your entire network but if it isn’t, now is a good time to start doing it.
  • Staff must be instructed to not perform any updates themselves, even if they get a notification from Microsoft to do so. All critical updates must be overseen by IT.
  • To facilitate identifying drivers for existing hardware, checking compatibility, and identifying old systems that need replacement (rather than a software update), an internal audit must be conducted to see what systems and hardware are currently in use.
  • All existing software applications need to be checked to establish their compatibility with Windows 10 as is, or after an update. Some software, like legacy bespoke apps, will never be compatible. You also need to confirm whether compatible software can be run in a virtual machine environment.
  • Whether it’s on existing or brand new hardware, create a testing environment for Windows 10 hardware compatibility before deployment so to ensure applications, accessories, drivers, and network devices continue to function as normal.
  • Develop a plan of execution that takes place outside normal business hours and includes staggering the deployment in case something goes wrong. This will help prevent employee downtime and minimize the number of machines you must roll back in the event of deployment failure or unforeseen compatibility issues.

And it doesn’t stop there. Even after a successful deployment of Windows 10, you’ll need to keep on top of software updates and driver bug fixes. Remember, too, that Windows Update only applies to Microsoft’s software. You’ll need to set up an automated patch management solution for any third party or legacy apps.

Can Your Business Benefit from Outsourcing IT?

In today’s hyper connected world, robust management of business networks is essential. One of the best reasons to work with a managed IT services provider is having it lift the burden of managing networking from you so that you can focus solely on your organization’s core goals and providing top customer service to your clients. Benefits include everything from quality improvement to cost control, proactive maintenance, and better network performance and security.

This can be especially valuable in the first year after deployment of a new operating system, when driver and application updates are typically more frequent, and glitches and compatibility issues are revealed and reported. More so if your business hasn’t been giving IT functions the attention they need.

Most companies depend on technology to run their business and can benefit from the solutions an MSP offers. Along with compliance and risk mitigation, supply chain efficiency, predictive analytics and data management, and improved flexibility and scalability, you get customized, first-rate IT services without having to break the bank.

Final Thoughts

The permanent move to Windows 10 ushers in a new era in computing for businesses big and small. As January 2020 approaches, there are many things to start considering before making the migration. Windows 10 presents an opportunity for your company to rethink how it manages its business network.

With technical scenarios far more intricate than they’ve ever been, and with greater connectivity and interdependency across systems and key applications, it’s important not to underestimate the time, complexity, and overall management involved in making the transition.

A reliable managed services provider can help you efficiently migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 10, including investigating and determining needed hardware and software upgrades and testing legacy applications for Windows 10 compatibility.

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