10 Things You Can Do to Safeguard your Windows Operating Environment

Your Windows operating environment is about to be exposed to a significant security risk. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will be ending their Extended Support for Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2 and Exchange Server 2010. Forever. That’s a big deal for every organization, currently running Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2 and Exchange Server 2010.

But you’re not alone – and that’s why it’s important to act now. About 39% of all Windows computers are currently running Windows 7. And that another 7% are still running Windows XP? That’s about half of all Windows computers — out of the millions and millions of Windows computers in use today.

Every one of those computers are at risk for security threats that are becoming ever more sophisticated, immediately placing their data at risk of theft, destruction or ransom. All are at risk for real trouble.

Start by downloading free White Paper, “How to Prepare for Windows 7 End-of-Life to learn more about the practical steps you can take right now to safeguard your computers, your network, and your data. Click here.

Next, here are 10 things you can do right now to safeguard your computers, your network, and your data. Starting today. And of course, Stratix Systems can help you.

  1. Audit all of your machines and determine what needs to be upgraded or replaced. Every Windows 7 computer should be evaluated to see if a Windows 10 upgrade is possible. Before you can plan, you first have to know what your exposure is.
  2. Isolate Any Systems That Can’t Be Upgraded. Windows 10, for the most part, is backward compatible with applications designed for Windows 7. However, some legacy applications designed for Windows XP may not be fully compatible with Windows 10. Critical systems that can’t be upgraded should be isolated while you seek alternatives.
  3. Inventory your applications software and check for upgrades. Now is a good time to think about upgrades to applications software. New versions of your most-used software are likely far more feature-rich which can be vital in terms of workflow, security and productivity.
  4. Design a budget and a schedule to phase out of Windows 7. Your schedule and budget should be prioritized based on the systems that are most critical to your business tasks. Servers, systems that are used for everyday service delivery, customer records and billing, and business data storage should all receive the highest priority. Staff workstations and laptops are typically upgraded in tandem with, or immediately after, back-end systems. It’s a process that will take time.
  5. Get familiar with Windows 10. Windows 10 is a robust, stable and reliable operating system with which you will quickly feel at home. But there are differences, so it’s important for your people to get familiar with them.
  6. Take the opportunity to look to the future. If you find yourself in a position where you need to upgrade hardware, consider alternate form factors like high-performance laptops, a 2-in-1 or other mobile form factor.
  7. Think about your servers and how you use them. Server migration should be the first thing you do. For servers, we recommend replacing your Server 2008/R2 software with Server 2016. Exchange Server 2010 may not have as large of an impact on your business because many organizations have already transitioned their communications and collaboration needs to a cloud-based system, like Hosted Exchange. If you are able to do so, now is a good time to think about migrating to a Hosted Exchange situation.
  8. Create a Staff Training Plan. On-going training is critical for all staff members in your organization. When rolling out a new operating system, training becomes even more important.
  9. Don’t wait until the last minute! The closer we get to January 2020, and the End-of-Life for Microsoft’s Extended Support, the greater the shortage of machines and engineers and the more likely people will be to make poor – and expensive – choices. Now is the time to get your arms around this hyper-critical issue, while there is still time to plan, budget and deploy rationally.
  10. Get Stratix Systems involved. Our engineers and systems experts can provide the expertise and guidance required for a pain-free transition away from Windows 7, Windows Server 2008/R2 and Exchange Server 2010. One of our experienced systems experts would be happy to help you explore your options.

But start by downloading our free White Paper,How to Prepare for Windows 7 End-of-Life.”