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Long Live Windows 10: The Last OS You’ll Ever Buy

Client Computing | Posted on November 29, 2018 by Joseph Byer

That’s right: Windows 10 is last operating system (OS) you’ll ever need to purchase.

After struggling to convince customers to make the switch from Windows 7 to version 8, Microsoft took an alternate approach to its latest version. Following Apple’s example, Microsoft has abandoned the notion of an operating system customers “own” in perpetuity.

Instead, Windows 10 operates “as-a-service,” receiving continuous updates throughout the year. Say goodbye to major version releases and expensive, time-consuming upgrades. Windows 10 users receive regular updates to extend functionality and security. This new model leaves users – and IT departments – free from worry about having the latest version

But what about those running Windows 7? After all, the popular OS still runs on 70% of business PCs. Some bad news: as of January 14, 2020, Windows 7 will reach end-of-support. After this date, any organization still Windows 7 will be doing so at significant risk.

You may miss some aspects of the “buy once, run forever” model of perpetual Windows licensing. The updated model may seem like a challenge to your IT department. But, the transition to Windows 10 and subscription-based updates comes with big advantages for the enterprise. Below, we cover the best reasons to start planning your move to Windows 10 today.

The End of OS-as-a-Product

Gone are the days when Microsoft spent years of work on each version of Windows only to release it at a glitzy launch. Windows 95 arrived in August 1995 and blew the previous version out of the water, selling a record $30 million in copies on Day One. Today, it’s rare for OS version releases to deliver this kind of ground-breaking improvement over their predecessors.

At the same time, today’s consumers don’t buy new operating systems – they buy new devices. Most are content to use whichever OS comes out-of-the-box until it’s time for a replacement. Business customers may be content to pay for greater control over how and when they receive updates. Nonetheless, new market realities have conditioned businesses to see an OS as intrinsic to the device. As such, they expect updates for the duration of the OS lifecycle.

Microsoft has applied these observations in its approach to Windows 10. As of 2017, Microsoft has committed to a “predictable, twice-per-year” feature release schedule. Major updates roll out every March and September. Monthly and annual subscriptions along with volume licenses cover continuous feature updates.  Microsoft also peppers in occasional fixes and quality updates as needed or on monthly “Patch Tuesdays.” The brisk pace of updates with Windows 10 means you’ll never have to purchase or implement major new versions.

Security! Security! Security!

A newsworthy hack or data breach is every CIO’s worst nightmare. Once Windows 7 reaches end-of-support, organizations still running the OS will no longer receive security patches or updates. Neither will they continue to receive technical assistance from Microsoft, unless they’re willing to pay a steep price. Without this coverage, risk of a catastrophic incident goes way up.

Older Windows versions weren’t built to withstand the frequency of malware and ransomware attacks that’s growing 350% every year. After all, businesses running outdated versions of Windows have exacerbated the recent rash of front-page news attacks. In this security landscape, it’s in every organization’s interest for all users to have the latest possible software.

Windows 10’s security features acknowledge the nature and severity of today’s threats. Updates under the Windows-as-a-Service model mean enterprise customers aren’t left vulnerable with out-of-date protection. These features also yield dramatic improvements to an organization’s capacity for proactive threat intelligence, detection and mitigation.

Simpler Device Management and Provisioning

Previous versions of Windows rolled out major releases every 3 to 4 years. Between these were intermittent updates delivered via service packs and hotfixes. In response to this model, many organizations planned their device refresh strategies around major Windows version releases.

Now the device lifecycle is far shorter. Many business users move between desktop and mobile clients often. They access enterprise applications on both personal and business devices.

Incremental updates under the Windows-as-a-Service model are aggressive, frequent and dynamic. Regular updates to the core OS code mean users are always operating the latest, most secure version of the software, no matter the device. Windows 10’s device enrollment, out-of-the-box configuration, and bulk provisioning capabilities enhance this advantage even further.

Greater Control over Updates

The continuous approach to feature and quality updates to Windows 10 offers IT departments much greater control over the deployment of updates within their organization. Windows 10 allows the setup of control groups to convey updates to the appropriate devices and users.

Unlike consumer and small business customers who receive automatic updates, enterprise Windows 10 customers can choose how and when updates are deployed. Insider Preview builds allow enterprise organizations to validate, verify compatibility and provide feedback on new features before they ship. Meanwhile, servicing channels allow businesses to set the tempo of feature updates or run pilot deployments to suit their needs.

This means an organization could choose to opt-in to a fast-moving upgrade cycle in some departments while accepting only security-critical updates to high-sensitivity environments.

And All the People Rejoiced

Being on the latest technology means you’re always more agile – and more secure. Microsoft’s aggressive update strategy for Windows 10 ensures your organization always has access to the latest and best OS features, updates, and security fixes. It also means your IT team spends less time on version migrations, asset management workloads and compliance issues associated with running perpetual-license OS versions.

Windows is dead. Long live Windows!

Ready to make the shift to Windows 10? we put together a few resources you may find helpful in your migration.

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