10 Feb 2016

Windows 10: Should you upgrade?

As Microsoft nears a worldwide footprint of nearly 200 million active Windows 10 devices – and changes the way it is deploying the new operating system, it’s a good time to start an upgrade discussion if you haven’t done so already.

Enterprise interest in Microsoft’s latest – and last ever – version of Windows is already high.

Gartner analyst Steve Kleynhans said last week that where his firm would previously have spent over 1.5 years convincing enterprise to upgrade, interest in Windows 10 was “unprecedented”, reducing discussions to as little as nine months.

Windows 10 will be on many more machines shortly after Microsoft reclassified the operating system to be a “recommended update” in Windows Update.

Those with machines set up to automatically accept Windows updates are likely to see Windows 10 download and install automatically.

That’s unlikely to affect those with enterprise policies, though it may impact smaller firms, particularly those that had been hoping to stick with an older operating system.

Setting aside for a minute the path Windows 10 takes onto your machines, there are plenty of reasons to ensure that you have a path mapped out.

As Microsoft ends support for some of the older software in its worldwide ecosystem – notably XP in 2014 and some versions of Internet Explorer recently – the risks of staying on outdated software are beginning to show.

One of those risks was unfortunately borne out when Royal Melbourne Hospital fell victim to a 0day XP flaw that opened them up to malware infection – and significant downtime. They were about halfway through an upgrade program when the malware struck.

Using old versions of Internet Explorer can also come up with security risks. Despite Microsoft recently ending support on a number of old versions, they remain popular, particularly among small businesses where as many as 2/3 still use the internet on these old browsers.

To encourage particularly business users that are wedded to old versions of Internet Explorer due – for example – to old applications that need them, Microsoft has created an “enterprise mode” in its new Edge browser that it says can help old applications function properly.

If all this sounds complicated, we can help.

Keep an eye out on Brennan IT’s readiness webinar series to walk you through the options and best practices for upgrading in March 2016.