End of Life operating systems: What’s your migration plan?
Andy Gregory, Solutions Specialist in the Digital Workplace team at O2, discusses the importance of planning ahead as your operating systems reach their end of life, and how O2 can support your transition.
Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 on 14 January 2020, and for Office 2010 on 13 October 2020. This means that after these dates, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, bug fixes or security patches for either of these products. You may have already migrated to Windows 10 and upgraded to a more recent version of Office, but if you haven’t then now is the time to do so.
The situation feels familiar. In 1999, I joined what was then BT Mobile, as part of a team managing hardware, software and OS updates to ensure Y2K compatibility. And over the years, I’ve rolled out more operating systems and software updates than I care to remember.
Until Windows 10, deployments were labour intensive and time consuming. OS images had to be created for each model of laptop or desktop, and these had to be updated regularly with security patches, device drivers and application updates. Each individual device had to be inspected manually, backed up before the new operating system was installed, the data restored, and finally the individual user’s configuration set.
Windows 10 and Office 365 change all that, and O2 now offers a number of options that provide a single, managed, cloud solution to equip our customers with mobile device management, security, app management, policies and user configuration for all their devices. At O2, we have always considered ourselves as solution agnostic, and our starting point is to find the answer that will be most effective for our customer, regardless of manufacturer.
If you have devices to upgrade, our Digital Workplace team supports organisations large and small with their transition programmes. And as a Microsoft accredited Partner with Gold competencies in Cloud Productivity and Communications, we are experts in this field.
Take Rothschild, for example, one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory groups. They had recently rolled out Office 365, and wanted to tie a device refresh for UK employees into the roll-out of Microsoft’s EM+S suite. They wanted to manage devices, secure their data and take advantage of the tight integration available.
The UK business did not have a Mobile Device Management platform in place but other territories, including France, had already piloted EM+S. The Digital Workplace team at O2 ran a requirements workshop with Rothschild to identify their specific needs in the UK, and we designed a solution to comply with their global policy framework, allowing consolidation management of the French and UK employee base across a wide variety of use cases. O2 implemented the solution over a two-week period with minimal disruption, resulting in dramatically improved visibility, management and security of their endpoints.
Microsoft’s end of life phase may be uppermost in my mind at the moment, but any hardware or software upgrade provides the ideal opportunity for a business to review its requirements and device portfolio. If you’re ready to make a change, here are three quick tips that might help:
1. Consider your people
Start by identifying how they work and what they need to be effective and productive. Avoid simply replacing tech like for like, or being seduced by impressive-sounding business functionality without the performance to back it up. Whilst security is paramount, resist locking down users to the point they can’t be productive. With the right system, it’s possible to be productive in a secure environment.
2. Get expert and impartial advice
Every device management platform looks great in a marketing brochure. But the only thing that counts is how well it fits your organisation’s needs. The best thing to do is to talk to an expert and build a package around your specific requirements.
3. Remember that the world of work has changed
It’s no longer a location, it’s about connectivity. Take the opportunity to consider the needs of remote and independent workers too, and use cloud solutions that keep data secure, whilst making collaboration and file sharing effortless.
Our Digital Workplace Solutions Team at O2 are here to help. You can get in touch on 07703 332 378.