It’s time to upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10, if you haven’t already. Windows 7 end of life is fast approaching and, in less than a year’s time, Microsoft will cease to deliver the free updates that come with the Windows 7 operating system, which launched in 2009. Whilst Windows Server 2008 will also lose support at the same time, let’s focus first on the desktop operating system.
IT security is critical in protecting your business, it’s therefore strongly recommended that businesses invest in transitioning to the Windows 10 Professional or Enterprise desktop operating system, to stay protected and ahead of the curve. Indeed, with Microsoft 365 which combines Windows 10, the suite of programmes in Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, you can deliver the modern desktop to all devices in your network.
It’s important to prepare well in advance of a loss in support. Failure to do so could mean your systems are at risk from cyber attack and being uncompliant with your IT security and data protection obligations.
The benefits when you upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10
With mainstream support ending in 2015, the technology of Windows 7 is now effectively frozen in time. Windows 10 provides a wide range of improvements on its 2009 predecessor. When you upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 benefits include:
- Speed – One of the primary tangible advantages is that Windows 10 is a significantly faster operating system. A more efficient operating system means a more productive operator and your staff will be able to work more effectively.
- Automatic updates – Windows 7 allows updates to be switched off. The implications of this – in an unmanaged IT environment – are potential inconsistencies between the desktops in your IT infrastructure, representing a severe security vulnerability. Windows 10 updates cannot be switched off, making your infrastructure more secure.
- The modern desktop – Microsoft 365, a combination of Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security, delivers the ‘modern desktop’. This continually provides all users with the latest in productivity and security innovations from Microsoft, as well as invaluable cloud functionality.
- Security – Features such as advanced login options, including multi-factor authentication make Windows 10 desktops far more secure and in-line with current best practices for accessing systems.
- BitLocker – This Windows 10 feature, available with the Professional and Enterprise editions, allows you to encrypt the data on your hard drive. Without encryption, data stored on the device can potentially be accessed if the device is lost or stolen. With Bitlocker, your device’s data can only be accessed with a complex access key. This helps towards ensuring your compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Don’t leave it till the last minute
You can’t upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 instantaneously. A period of time has to be allowed from the moment you ‘press the button’ to the point at which the upgrade is complete. Factors to take into account in this respect are:
- Availability – With 2019 expected to see many businesses make the switch to Windows 10, the capacity for in-house IT resources or IT support provider may be limited, particularly towards the end of the year.
- Time to plan – Depending on the number of machines you have, this upgrade could be significant. An effective plan is required to ensure a smooth switchover with minimal downtime to your operations.
- Upgrading your server will take longer – If you have servers running Windows Server 2008 then these will also need to be upgraded. This is likely to have a bigger impact on your business’s operations and take more time. As such, server upgrades should be planned at least six months in advance of the support cut-off date.
The larger your infrastructure, the more planning that will be required in advance of a change in the operating system. The sooner you change, the sooner you can take advantage of the benefits of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2019 to improve the IT security and continuity of your business.
How can Microtrading help?
Microtrading can advise on your requirements, implement a transition from planning to completion and support your infrastructure on an ongoing basis.
Andrew Penlington, Director of Microtrading, said: “Although support for Windows 7 ends at the start of 2020, its mainstream support ended four years ago. Windows 10 represents a substantial progression in security, speed, search functionality and a whole raft of other elements.
“It’s vital for businesses to stay ahead of the curve with IT support. Those that don’t, risk falling behind their competitors.
“The most prevalent issue here, however, is security. Whilst the level of security offered by Windows 10 is greater than that of Windows 7. When support is removed, Windows 7 will present a severe vulnerability for a business.”