Even if we’d like it to last forever, business technology can’t possibly do so for a number of reasons. Due to the fact that businesses and their technology are constantly upgrading and changing, it’s almost a certainty that you’ll have to upgrade your technology at some point, whether it reaches its end-of-life event or just simply becomes obsolete for your organization. In fact, failing to update your infrastructure from time to time can have serious negative side-effects for your business.
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If you’ve been in business for a while, there are devices on your network that see little to no use. Even for the most frugal business, due to the fact that technology eventually winds up being arbitrary thanks to the continued development (and deployment) of more powerful solutions, there will always be situations where you have devices that do nothing but take up space. You can reduce the chances of this happening by finding the right IT for the job the first time, while sparingly implementing only IT solutions that will provide a return on your investment.
The sad truth about computers is that when they inevitably break, you have to get them fixed; or, you have to order a new one. When PCs started to be utilized for mass productivity, however, businesses had to find a better way. It’s been years since the first managed services provider hung out their shingle, and over that relatively short time the managed services industry has grown to be a $150 billion-a-year industry. The combination of IT becoming an important part of nearly every business resulted in the obvious demand for affordable IT support. This trend has seen many businesses cutting IT staff to make way for outsourced managed services, and all it provides. A problem that both businesses, and the MSPs that they hire, face is that computers eventually break.
Over the past year, Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 10, has gained a massive user base. With over 300 million devices worldwide running it, it’s safe to say that Windows 10 has, thus far, been a commercial success. However, the biggest reason for upgrading to Windows 10 (the free upgrade) will soon expire. So, are you going to take advantage of this, or wait until later?
For small and medium-sized businesses, technology management can be a tricky situation. You want to ensure that your IT doesn't break your budget, but you also want to make using your technology as easy as possible for your end users. Unfortunately, for many employees, your business’s technology conduct and practices could be driving them insane.
When it comes to technology, upgrading is part of the package. Despite this being a well-established fact, some business owners will delay upgrading for as long as possible, while others will upgrade as soon as the latest product is released. What’s behind a company’s motivation to upgrade or not? We can better understand this by looking at a study on why businesses upgrade their operating systems.
Microsoft’s most recent addition to the Windows family of operating systems, Windows 10, is full of new features, but when it comes to implementing it, many businesses are still dragging their heels. However, the primary reason for this seems to be the fact that organizations want to make sure Windows 10 won’t break their IT infrastructure. Despite this handicap, Windows 10 is still being tested on twice as many PCs as Windows 8 was following its release.
Just because something is brand new doesn't mean that there's a market for it. Just look at Windows 8 to see what we're talking about. It might have been a brand new operating system when it first came out, but it didn't really take to users, who preferred the familiar feel of Windows 7. How do business owners suspect Windows 10 will affect the business world?
In an overwhelming response to a ZDNet survey, 73 percent of all respondents claim that they will be adopting Windows 10 within the next two years. This exceeds the approval rates of both Windows 7 and 8, making Windows 10 one of the most anticipated operating systems in recent times. Here are some of the statistics concerning the update to Windows 10:
- 64 percent of IT professionals said they were most interested in the return of the Start button, 55 percent cited the free upgrade from Windows 7 and 8/8.1, and 51 percent referenced enhanced security.
- Only eight percent of respondents said they were interested in the touch-optimized interface, six percent cited Cortana, and five percent were interested in Hello.
- When IT professionals were asked to disclose their general impressions of Microsoft's new browser Edge (previously known as Spartan) 25 percent said they were somewhat to very positive, 23 percent said they were neutral, and nearly half said they didn't know enough about the new browser to have formed an opinion. Four percent of respondents were somewhat to very negative.
While many users are simply interested in the free upgrade and the return of the Start menu, they don't necessarily expect a lot from the other features, like touch-screen compatibility and Cortana. Still, upgrades are upgrades, and the significant number of anticipated upgrades makes us happy. As IT professionals, we always emphasize the importance of running a supported operating system, as well as how much the latest technology can improve your business's productivity. Even if users aren't immediately upgrading to Windows 10, so long as they aren't opting to continue using an unsupported operating system, they're doing something right.
However, these numbers also tell us that there are a lot (as in, the majority) of businesses that plan on leaving behind their legacy applications, or finding more modern solutions that better handle their workload. Many users don't take into account the fact that their legacy software might not perform to top specifications, or even be compatible at all, with the latest technology. This can prevent your business from getting the most out of its information systems.
We worry that this might be the case with Windows 10. Because of Microsoft labeling it as "free" for users of Windows 7 and 8/8.1 for a whole year following its release, many users feel an enormous amount of pressure to upgrade before this offer's expiration date. If this sounds familiar, we want to reiterate that you should carefully consider any and all applications that you currently use, especially if they qualify as legacy software.
Should You Upgrade?
Network Synergy recommends a cautious approach to upgrading your systems. Below is more information about Windows 10 that you should know.
- Windows 10 is a free upgrade for genuine Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 operating systems. Microsoft is offering this free upgrade for one year, until July, 2016.
- Network Synergy always cautions our customers on immediately adopting new Operating System upgrades to prevent compatibility issues with business applications, which will undoubtedly surface with any new OS upgrade. Microsoft has made this cautious-to-upgrade approach difficult to abide by, due in part to its marketing strategy of sending Windows 7 and 8.1 users a notification that Windows 10 is now available and that the upgrade is free to licensed users. This message may appear for workstations automatically updating Windows patches from Microsoft directly. This notification would be seen in your System Tray if this update notification was downloaded to your computer. We can work with you if you are receiving notifications to eliminate the upgrade popups that you may be receiving.
- Please note that Windows 10 will not be automatically updated on your system without your intervention. Microsoft however will give users the option to upgrade with one click of "Yes" or "Go!" This is not recommended on your business computers without proper testing with all applications. Worst-case scenario: You've got a mission-critical app that isn't compatible with Windows 10, and you don't find this out until after you've installed the new OS. While Microsoft makes upgrading to a new OS easy, downgrading to an older OS is a very difficult and time-consuming task that you don't want to experience. Additionally, the new features of Windows 10 can potentially displace existing workflows if one isn't prepared.
- Internet Explorer has been replaced with a new web browser, Microsoft Edge. While this new browser likely has advantages over IE, it's important to keep in mind that its new interface may befuddle longtime IE users. Plus, it's rare for a 1.0 product to be error free upon its release.
- While consumers will often jump on a new OS download as soon as it's released, it's a safe move for enterprises to wait until the first service pack comes out. A conservative move like this will prevent your business from being a beta tester for Microsoft. We do, however, also caution customers on upgrading home computers that may be used for office network access, particularly with VPN access. Please contact us if you remotely access your network to review possible compatibility issues.
- In addition to having compatibility issues with older software, you might see issues with the compatibility of older peripherals, like scanners, printers, optical drives, etc. If Microsoft has deemed these devices obsolete, then your previously-functioning equipment will now be a paperweight. Additionally, there's the potential to lose data and settings, in particular, Internet Explorer settings.
- If there is interest in adopting the new operating system quickly, it is recommended to take one non-critical workstation in your office and upgrade to test with all existing applications. This will identify potential software upgrades that need to be addressed for your business prior to upgrading all systems.
In conclusion, we think that Windows 10 has a lot going for it, but like any major business decision, it's not a new venture that you want to blindly take on. Network Synergy is here to help. Network Synergy is testing Windows 10 to identify potential upgrade requirements for many of the applications that we deploy for our customers. If you have immediate interest in upgrading, please contact your account manager to discuss the best upgrade plan for you to make sure we provide the smoothest transition possible to Windows 10.
Who’s excited about the release of Windows 10 on July 29th? We sure are! After all, Microsoft’s new OS provides features and improvements that have many users planning on upgrading as soon as possible. However, as cool as Windows 10 looks to be, we don’t recommend that businesses blindly upgrade.
What’s the technology in your office like? There’s a pretty good chance that at least some of the equipment you’re using may be obsolete. To find out if you’re using any obsolete technologies, let’s take a stroll down the Museum of Obsolete Objects and see what they’ve got on display.
Windows XP is a product that has consistently performed well for Microsoft and it continues to see growth, even though it's not supposed to. With its support ending this past April, Windows XP was supposed to never be heard from again. Instead, XP is refusing to go quietly into the night by posting positive usage numbers for June 2014.
Microsoft stated weeks ago that they would no longer support Windows 8.1, unless the operating system was updated to Windows 8.1 Update by May 13th. But one day before the deadline, Microsoft announced they have pushed the deadline back substantially. This update is crucial if you desire to continue receiving patches and updates from the company. Which you should!
Well, that didn't take long. Eight months ago Microsoft released Windows 8.1 and now they're sounding the alarm that users better comply and install the latest updates or lose security support from Microsoft. What makes this news peculiar is that it took 12 years for Microsoft to reach the same verdict with its popular Windows XP operating system. What gives, Microsoft?
When we think of technology in terms of age, we often look at how long the machine has lasted for. Some machines from the mid-90's are still running, which makes them almost twenty years old. In terms of human life, that's not a very long time, but if you look at it in terms of quality working conditions, you'll find that these computers are kind of like dogs and cats. They may only be several years old, but in terms of actual age, their lifespan makes them much older than you realize.
If you're still running your business or home PC on Windows XP, then it's vital that you upgrade to a newer OS. Yes, your decade-old Windows XP system may be working just fine, and therefore, you may not feel the urgency to upgrade, but you will feel the heat when Microsoft stops supporting its popular OS--in just a few short days!
In the business world, it's common knowledge that Microsoft is ending support for its popular operating system Windows XP on April 8. However, with recent data showing that 29% of the world's computers are still running Windows XP, it appears that the rest of the world is slow to act upon Microsoft's expiration date.
By now, you have hopefully heard about Windows XP being no longer supported by Microsoft come April, but what you may have missed is that there's another popular Windows OS, Windows Server 2003, that's also set to expire relatively soon. July 14, 2015 is the end of support date for Windows Server 2003. Have you made plans to upgrade?
Sometimes, when complex systems are put into place, the simplest and most fundamental tasks seem to be neglected. Updating your business' software should not be avoided. Software updates help secure your network and provide your company with an extra competitive edge. Don't risk your company's strengths by neglecting your software updates!
We hope that this isn't the first time you've heard about Microsoft ending support for their popular Windows XP OS on April 8, 2014. Microsoft has been warning users of this "death date" for years, yet we still come across businesses and consumers that are just now getting the memo. You may have to help get the message out!
One year ago, Microsoft took a big gamble when they released Windows 8 with a new user interface that strayed from their successful twenty year-old template. Throughout the year, Microsoft has been listening to user feedback and they have recently addressed the biggest issues with Windows 8.1, the first major upgrade to Microsoft's newest OS.
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