As one of the largest cities in the US, Chicago has become a place for many businesses, big and small, to thrive. This iconic hub is home to many impressive businesses, including America’s fastest-growing corporations. This makes for a competitive market, so businesses who want to survive need to have an edge that can help them continue growing.
One aspect of their operations that businesses are allocating huge investments is their IT. Successful modern businesses understand that if they want to compete in a digital age, their IT infrastructure has to scale along with them and frequently be upgrading to the latest technology.
One huge update that will surely hit your business hard in 2020 if you fail to keep up is Microsoft’s announcement that they’ll be ending support—including security updates—for Windows 7 beginning January 2020. If your business hasn’t already, now’s the time to make the switch to Windows 10, not only to avoid the security catastrophes that could come with continuing with Windows 7 but also to keep sharpening your competitive edge as a growing Chicago business.
Here are some of the biggest reasons to upgrade to Windows 10 in Chicago and how you can transition in the smoothest way possible before 2020:
Pitfalls of Using Windows 7 in 2020
Primarily, the detriment of Windows 7 comes down to security. Windows 7 itself is an outdated model that doesn’t have the inbuilt capabilities needed to protect the range of data a modern Chicago business is liable to handle. These risks become even more significant when you consider the withdrawal of security updates imminent in January. Taking this into account, it’s plain to see that continual use of Windows 7 could lead to serious data breaches that put both you and your clients at risk.
Bear in mind that this is the case even if you’re running just one device on Windows 7. Remember that hackers and viruses seek weaknesses in your systems, and a Windows 7 remnant is just the type of vulnerability they’re looking for. Data breach cleanups are both expensive and damaging to your reputation, so upgrading to a more secure operating system is an absolute necessity for most businesses.
While the continued use of outdated Windows 7 systems leaves businesses at risk on a broad scale, there are also certain regulatory risks worth considering within industries such as healthcare. Practices using Windows 7 past January 2020, for example, will no longer be HIPAA compliant. This puts your sensitive patient data at risk of substantial breaches and could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fines.
Other cybersecurity regulations for major businesses are also law-binding, so businesses in several different industries should be aware that Windows 7 systems could put you at risk of breaking state and federal cybersecurity laws after January. For example, government defense contractors recently got news that they are now subject to DFARS compliance, violations of which could lead to several legal consequences in the coming year. In short, companies dealing with sensitive data should seriously consider abandoning Windows 7 if they want to maintain legal cybersecurity measures within their business.
By comparison, Windows 10 has specific features to guarantee ongoing compliance in precisely these matters. Increased safety features and regular security updates ensure that your business can stay compliant with such regulations. In fact, many Windows 10-compatible programs are built specifically with current regulations in mind. Migrating to Windows 10 is the safest way to go to protect your confidential information both currently and in the future.
A Smooth Transition
Even once you understand the importance of a Windows 10 upgrade for your Chicago business, it’s vital you approach this change with a plan in mind. Upgrading programs across a company isn’t easy, after all, and the process itself can lead to downtime and security risks if done incorrectly.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, you need to roll out Windows 10 in a way that maintains productivity and security across your company. Your best chance at achieving this goal is to work with a managed service provider (MSP) that already has the know-how to ensure a smooth transition. Outsourcing to a team of experts helps you lay out a multifaceted migration plan that includes crucial processes such as the following:
- Compatibility Checks: An MSP will carefully review support contracts and contact manufacturers to check if your hardware and current programs are compatible with Windows 10 before they determine whether you need new equipment. In cases where systems aren’t compatible, your MSP will have access to resources to help make your applications compatible, which can help to prepare the groundwork for a complete, downtime-free business transition when the time comes.
- A Phased Implementation Plan: A gradual upgrade to Windows 10 is your best chance at maintaining business processes throughout. An MSP will plan to migrate devices in phases, a few at a time, to ensure productivity is maintained and potential challenges with the new software can be tested and prevented. This way, you don’t risk hours or even days without functioning IT systems if a migration fails.
Benefits of Windows 10
As you can see, switching to Windows 10 before January 2020 is a security must, but staying safe isn’t the only incentive for making this switch. In reality, Windows 10 also stands to bring a whole lot of ease-inducing benefits to your daily processes, and you can start enjoying them the moment you transition. As though security weren’t enough, finally making the change can also see you enjoying advantages such as the following:
- Quicker configuration of business computers
- Effortless syncing between work and personal computers
- Scalability and flexibility
- Improved verification management
- The addition of Cortana
- Ongoing updates for improved business processes
Change can be daunting, but to stay on top of the business growth in Chicago and make your business more profitable in 2020, the Windows 10 upgrade is a must. If you need help from a managed service provider to make the switch, contact ReachOut IT in Chicago to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.