By: Christopher Kline on January 31st, 2019

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Do I need to upgrade to Windows 10 in 2019?

Technology Strategy | Microsoft Windows

As technology advances so do the software needed to make it run efficiently. At the beginning of the year, Microsoft published a reminder that Windows 7 will lose support on January 14, 2020.

If you're wondering how this affects you and your business, here are some things to consider.

Windows 10 Upgrade Considerations

Network & Data Security

With more advanced and persistent virus threats security is the first area Windows 10 will provide benefit. After January 2020 Microsoft will no longer provide security patches for Windows 7. Leaving a workstation unpatched could have consequences which affect more than that single workstation.  This is a critical point for anyone that is required to maintain either Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. Both of these state that operating systems require the capability to receive security updates. Additionally, proprietary documents and sensitive employee records could be at risk after Microsoft stops providing security patches. 

Application Compatibility

Line-of-business applications are the next thing which needs given thought. Microsoft has stated Office 2019 will only support Windows 10. If you're a current Office 365 customer wanting to take advantage of the latest office suite Windows 10 is a necessity. On the same note most, but not all, of your current software will be compatible with Windows 10. This is a major factor which warrants starting your workstation migration plans early. Replacing a few systems early this year to test how they integrate with your existing environment will help alleviate downtime that might occur if a project is rushed at the last minute.

Hardware Compatibility

The last area is hardware compatibly. All new workstations sold after 2017 only support Windows 10. Knowing now if your printers, scanners, and other external devices are compatible with Windows 10 could save you significant downtime. If your current Windows 7 based workstation needs replacing due to failure; finding out that what you have attached also needs replacing would make an already bad situation worse. 

Plan for Your Windows Upgrade

Assess Your Windows 10 Compatibility Now

Taking the time to plan and assess your business' compatibility with Windows 10 provides future security, reliability, and productivity. Planning for a strategic update now will give you time to address any hardware replacement needs and necessary updates of other applications.  Even if your Windows 10 update isn't planned until later in the year, don't wait to start assessing your overall system's compatibility. If a Windows 7 device fails before your upgrade, you want to know now if the device and other applications are compatible with Windows 10 in order to minimize the negative impacts of an emergency situation. 

Is This Part of Your IT Strategy?

Deciding when to upgrade a device or application, and assessing long-term business implications should be a function of your overall business IT strategy.

At a minimum your IT strategy should include:

  • Inventory and expected end of life of all network devices
  • Inventory of all software applications, licenses, and any renewals or expiration dates
  • Support and maintenance plan for essential IT infrastructure
  • Data storage, backup, and disaster recovery plan
  • Network accessibility needs
  • Anti-virus, email and web filtering solutions
  • Network security and compliance

If you'd like to learn more about the components of an overall IT Strategy, sign-up to receive more information.

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About Christopher Kline

Chris Kline has worked in various tech support roles since 1997 including field service, helpdesk, bench tech and project roles. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Systems and Network Administration from Bellevue University and is Microsoft Windows 7, Configuring Certified. He joined Innovative, Inc. in 2009 as a Systems Technician. He currently works on Innovative's Network Operations Center (NOC), where he monitors and troubleshoots critical network elements of Innovative's more than 150 managed customer networks.