MSPs Take the Lead on Windows 7 End of Support (EOS)

Many businesses have yet to upgrade their operating systems following the end of support for Windows 7…

Microsoft Windows 7 end of support (EOS) was on January 14, 2020; Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for the Windows 7 operating system (OS). Despite the long lead time for this EOS date, many businesses have yet to upgrade, leaving them at risk for application hardware and application compatibility, system and data security, and compliance issues.

MSPs Take the Lead on Windows 7 End of Support (EOS)
MSPs Take the Lead on Windows 7 End of Support (EOS)

EOS opens the door for managed service providers (MSPs) and IT consultants to build and offer a Windows 7 EOS service offering that helps businesses upgrade their systems and take advantage of new technologies and hardware.

Learn, in this article, why businesses are now facing compatibility, security, and compliance issues, what upgrade options are available, and best practices for service providers to help customers transition.

Read on this executive summary and learn:

  • Why businesses face compatibility, security, and compliance issues with Windows 7 EOS.
  • Upgrade options that are available to meet organizational needs and budgets.
  • How service providers can help customers transition.
  • How to be knowledgeable about the Dell Expert Network and the value it provides.

Content Summary

Overview
Context
Businesses face compatibility, security, and compliance issues with Windows 7 EOS
Upgrade options are available to meet organizational needs and budgets
Service providers can help customers transition before time runs out
Be knowledgeable about the Dell Expert Network and the value it provides

Overview

Microsoft Windows 7 end of support (EOS) is on January 14, 2020; after that date, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for the Windows 7 operating system (OS). Despite the lengthy lead time for this EOS date, many businesses have yet to upgrade, leaving them at risk for application hardware and application compatibility, system and data security, and compliance issues.

EOS opens the door for managed service providers (MSPs) and IT consultants to build and offer a Windows 7 EOS service offering that helps businesses upgrade their systems and take advantage of new technologies and hardware.

Context

Nick Cavalancia and Scott Smith discussed the challenges that companies face as the Windows 7 EOS approaches, as well as how service providers can help businesses meet the date. Steve Henriquez discussed the benefits the Dell Expert Network program provides MSPs and IT consultants.

Businesses face compatibility, security, and compliance issues with Windows 7 EOS

Hardware and application compatibility, security, and regulatory and legal compliance are major issues for businesses that opt to remain on Windows 7 after the EOS date.

Basic issues after EOS for businesses remaining on Windows 7

Hardware & application compatibility:

  • Newer applications and updated versions of applications may not run on Windows 7
  • Newer hardware and peripherals may not run with Windows 7

Security:

  • No security updates are available for Windows 7, increasing risk to the organization and unnecessarily opening up the business to the increasingly advanced threat landscape
  • Companies are unable to take advantage of additional security available with today’s hardware and with Windows 10

Compliance:

  • Without Windows 7 security updates, organizations are likely to find they are out of compliance, since security is a major focus of most compliance requirements and regulations

Businesses often hesitate to upgrade to the latest OS version because they are concerned that their existing software won’t be compatible. This is not a significant issue when upgrading off of Windows 7; Microsoft has verified that 99% of commercial applications that were available on Windows 7 work on Windows 10.

Hardware is typically compatible as well, although organizations may not be able to take advantage of all features or performance enhancements when using older systems.

Microsoft touts that out of the hundreds of thousands of different applications out there, they are 99% compatible with all Windows 7 applications. – Scott Smith

Upgrade options are available to meet organizational needs and budgets

Three options are available for organizations facing the Windows 7 EOS deadline:

  • Do nothing. This option keeps Windows 7 as the operating system but exposes the user to compatibility, security, and compliance issues. This option is not recommended.
  • OS-only upgrade. This option limits costs to just those associated with licensing and the upgrade process itself. Depending on the hardware in place, businesses may not be able to unlock the full value of the OS that would be available with modern hardware.
  • OS and hardware upgrade. Pursuing this option enables organizations to access the full value of the modern solution, enabling improved security and performance as well as the ability to take advantage of new technologies.

Microsoft recognizes that, even with 11 years of support and significant advanced notice of Windows 7 EOS, some companies may need additional transition time. Businesses can purchase Windows 7 Extended Security Update at a per-device cost that significantly increases over the three years it is offered.

Small businesses can also take advantage of the extended security updates when purchasing subscription licenses to Windows 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based operating system built into Office 365.

Service providers can help customers transition before time runs out

Windows 7 EOS provides MSPs and IT consultants a perfect opportunity to create a new offering that helps customers see the value in upgrading off both the old OS and older hardware. Offering a solution now helps customers take advantage of the time left before the end of Windows 7 support, which in the long run, will decrease both upgrade and support costs.

Time is an asset your customers have right now. Once we get to January, the only asset they really have is money. And it’s going to cost more money because they don’t have any time left to spend. – Nick Cavalancia

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates
Windows 7 Extended Security Updates

Service providers and offerings need to be:

  • Predictable and profitable using automation and repetitive processes that give consistency and accuracy, allowing the service provider to reap consistently reliable revenues from the offering.
  • Productized in a way that allows customers to understand the value of the service and also holds the MSP accountable for deliverables.
  • Prepared for one-offs including hourly rates that allow the provider to address the variable needs of customers without negatively impacting profitability.
  • Looking for and advising on opportunities. Business needs and expectations have likely changed since Windows 7 was implemented. Windows Server 2008 may be a better fit for some customers than Windows 10. Similarly, this upgrade may be the ideal time for companies to upgrade hardware or take advantage of newer technologies, including virtualization and cloud solutions.

Be knowledgeable about the Dell Expert Network and the value it provides

Companies who work with service providers on the Windows upgrade may be looking to upgrade their hardware as Windows 7 EOS approaches. Recognizing that service providers often don’t resell hardware, Dell offers a partner program—Dell Expert Network—for MSPs and IT consultants who refer businesses to Dell for their hardware needs.

Benefits of the Dell Expert Network Program:

  • Single point of contact with a dedicated account manager.
  • Shortcut in support using Dell TechDirect, enabling the service provider to enter support tickets and self-dispatch replacement parts.
  • Free training and webinars to keep service providers up to date on the latest information and offerings.
  • Rewards for MSPs, such as 3% back on any hardware purchased by the MSP or end-user.
  • Dell Financial Services for both hardware and services, allowing customers to finance their entire solution with Dell while paying service providers within 48 hours of placing the order.

The end-user can finance the entire solution with Dell. This keeps getting the MSP paid so they don’t have to have any sort of financing on their side; we will do it all for them. – Steven Henriquez

Source: Dell Expert Network