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To Renew or Not Renew, That Is the Question

You’re prepared, at least mentally, to begin your migration to Windows 10 because you’ve read What Does Windows End of Life Mean to My Business? and Getting Ahead of Windows End of LifeIs your hardware ready, thoughHow you handle your IT (on your own, as needed support, or with a fully managed agreement) will change how you will have to deal with your transition.  The following items should help you decide how to prepare your hardware for the Windows 10 migration.  

 

Do It Yourself 

If you own all of your own equipment and deal with IT issues in house, then you will want to get started on migrating your devices now. The good news is that Windows 10 is highly compatible with just about every PC out there. If you run into trouble, it’s likely a vendor incompatibility issue, not Microsoft, itself, so you’ll want to contact them directly. When you have that handled, upgrading from 7 to 10 is as simple as running the ISO file from Microsoft.com, from a USB, or DVD. The bad news is that it will take significant time migrating every PC in your business. You’ll also need to deal with a backlog of Microsoft customer service support if you happen to run into any issues.  Remember that almost 70% of the world’s computers are still running Windows 7. Its almost guaranteed that others will run into issues and need support, as well.  

 

MSP 

If you are with a managed service provider, you should be just fine. In fact, you likely already have a plan in place from your most recent business review. Over the course of the next few months, your IT company will ensure software compatibility with all of your line of business applications and contact any necessary vendors and schedule a time with you to come out and run the update once their sure everything will go smoothly. Now, would also be a good time to consider any hardware upgrades that you’ve been needing. All new PCs will automatically come with Windows 10, alleviating any upgrade issues now or in the next three years or so. The best part of it, you have to do nothing. No downtime for your business, no extra IT work for you, and no worries. 

 

If you’re on a full managed services agreement, the upgrade is more than likely covered and any hardware needs will be handled on a new monthly payment plan (HaaS agreement). If you’re on a partial agreement or break/fix model, you’ll likely be billed for the time required to complete the upgrade. Either way, your IT company will have you completely in hand. Just remember that your service provider will soon be booked solid assisting other clients with this transition. It’s important to schedule now so you’re not left waiting.  

 

Time to Get a Contract? 

If you’re reading this blog as someone that had planned to do this upgrade on your own but have now decided that you don’t have the time or desire to do so? It’s time to contact ARRC Technology. We’ll make sure that you’re taken care of through Windows 7 end of life and well beyond.  

With Windows 7 end of life quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to prepare. Technically, regular Windows 7 support has been dead since 2015, however, the extended support period is over January 2020, which means no more updates or security patches. What should you be aware of for EOL? Get ready, you may have some work to do.  

 

Many are concerned that their PCs will stop working. That is not the case. Your Windows software will work, but its security will depreciate rather quickly, which could put your PC in danger of cyber-attacks and viruses. Back in 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. It affected 40% of computers worldwide. Now, years later, it is estimated that about 7% of computers are still using Windows XP. These computers are the ones hackers like to target because of the security holes caused by lack of regular patching.  

 

Currently, about 70% of businesses worldwide use Windows 7, so it’s highly likely that you need to take action before Windows 7 retires. The more systems you have on Windows 7, the sooner you need to prepare. Here‘s a quick action plan:  

 

 

 

Keep in mind that Windows 10 end of life takes place in January of 2025; so, while planning, ensure your devices can make the switch again in a few years, or that you’re budgeting for another upgrade. Also, document your processes during the shift. This could make life so much easier down the road. Most of all though, act. You don’t want to be stuck without security patches or an up-to-date operating system. It’s like hackers can smell your outdated system and will gladly break-in. Protect yourself and your business and begin planning sooner than later.  

You’ve all heard the panic. Windows is cutting off support for its widely popular version 7 software. January 14, 2020 will officially mark Windows 7 End of Life. Many companies have used Windows 7 since its onset in 2009 and are still actively using it today. That means you will need to migrate every single device. It’s possible you’ll need to upgrade your hardware as well. So, what’s the big deal? Can you just stick with Windows 7 or will your computer self-destruct? 

 

The good news is that your computers will work just fine after the End of Life date. However, just because your computer will function doesn’t mean it’s wise to hold onto outdated software. The largest concern for Windows 7 users is security. Since updates and support will no longer be available, your device will be extremely vulnerable to cyber threats. In fact, this is a bit of a hacker’s dream. They are standing by, knowing people will neglect to update their operating system.  

 

Windows 7 is actually already in its ‘extended support’ phase and has been since 2015! Microsoft ended mainstream support including new features and warranty claims. Yet, throughout this time Windows has kept virus patches and security bug fixes up to date. With End of Life, that will go away. IT and security experts alike strongly suggest migrating your operating system to something current before the Windows EOL date. Theoretically, you could pay for Windows 7 extended support on each individual device, but the costs will build up faster than simply migrating. Not only that, but specific security and bug fixes will also be more expensive and charged on an individual basis.  

 

Currently, there are a few options to choose from when it comes to Windows 7 EOL. Don’t be cheap and go to Windows 8. Though it is a newer version, it’ll only be a matter of time before you need to migrate all over again. You could transition to Windows 10 (recommended). If you are worried about cost efficiency, you could try a free operating system like Linux. It will take some research to find the specific Linux platform that’s best for you, but it may be worth it if you’re someone who likes to tinker. Then, of course, you could swap to a Mac altogether. Just keep in mind that Apple’s products are pretty expensive and you may need to re-purchase certain business applications.  

 

It’s important to begin working with your IT Company on this migration as soon as possible. They’ll take a look at the devices you are using, determine how many are utilizing Windows 7, and ensure your hardware isn’t out of date. Not all computers will be able to handle a new operating system, which could make a migration take much longer, more difficult, and costlier as you upgrade hardware. Your IT company will provide a recommended path for an upgrade with a clear budget and timeline for completion. 

 

Overall, take some time to plan your transition. Talk to us if you need additional help or options. Most of all though, get moving now. EOL will be here in no time. 

In most zombie movies, there is no antidote. No cure for their nasty zombie virus, it’s simply all downhill from thereYou watch as they slowing begin to turn into the “working dead”. After the same-old, same old, day in and day out, your team quickly begins looking a lot like zombies. Soon your productivity has slowed down, along with your sense of adventure, and finally, it’s all over. The sparkle and excitement drain from your employees’ eyes as they mindlessly do their job. Obviously, no one wants a zombie, both in the horror sense and the work sense. Here are a few things that will help keep your employees immune to the virus.  

 

First of all, remember that a positive workplace is key to great employee morale. Positivity isn’t a slew of awesome perks, though that is nice. Positivity is the energy derived from the respect people have for one another. It’s also having trust in people and allowing them to speak freely about their issues. Often, bad employee morale is caused by a feeling of being defeated. It’s the hypocrisy that can often rear its ugly head in the corporate world. My motto is always to treat everyone as you would want to be treated. That’s a pretty good start for a more positive and productive workplace.                  

 

To piggyback off that, it’s also wonderful when leadership engages with employees. Yes, you’re busy, and yes you pay them so in your mind that should be enough. Well, you’d be surprised at how many people sincerely care about your business alongside that paycheck. The ones that do feel respected and engaged with the company when leadership even gives a simple hello while passing in the hallway. Spend a little personal time getting to know people and engaging with your employees. This will allow them to feel that much more connected to your business and be motivated to take care of it correctly.    

 

Then, of course, there is recognition. This is always a tough one because many business owners and bosses alike feel as though a paycheck is enough recognition. In a perfect world, it certainly would be. Today’s workforce requires a little butt patting. (Not literally, don’t do that!) What I mean is a simple thank you can be an immense boost to someone’s ego. If a few simple words increase productivity, then why the heck not? No one is asking for crazy bonuses, free lunch, or a gym membership. (Although, I’m sure you wouldn’t get turned down for that). Employees just need to know they are working in the right direction and are producing quality. Ultimately, they want to make you happy and your business succeed.  

 

The main takeaway here is to put some genuine care into your employees. Foster an environment where people can speak up about the good, bad, and ugly without negative repercussions. Mostly though, treat others as you would want to be treated and that will create the baseline for your success. 

Unfortunately, the majority of the workforce are unengaged. Rather than work, disengaged employees are usually spending their days socializing, surfing the internet, shopping online, and possibly even job hunting. Many of the reasons for this include a lack of challenging work, too many work hours, and feelings of dissatisfaction. It really is unfortunate because employees simply want a positive environment where they can do their best work. Not only that but low engagement costs United States companies over $350 billion in revenue every year. The amount is staggering but there are several signs that you may want to look out for when it comes to employee engagement.  

1. Quiet 

The first sign is if the employee suddenly withdraws. Some employees have a quiet and shy nature, so be aware of that before you jump to conclusions. However, it is important to keep an eye on disengaged employees over time. If you notice an employee suddenly get quiet and withdraw for a few days, you may have a problem.  

2. Decrease in Quality 

Next is a drop in the quality of work that the employee was producing. Many times, you can notice employees taking longer to complete assignments or simply producing less. If the lack of quality is consistent, you most likely have a disengaged employee. Sometimes though, a brief period of underperformance is possible due to work and life stress. However, if it’s continual it means your employee is starting to care less.  

3. Behavior 

Another more obvious way of seeing that your employees are disengaged is if you see an attitude or anger. If an employee is visibly upset or even lashing out on managers or co-workers, it is not a good sign. This could be because the employee is having issues within the workplace that need to be addressed. Or simply they are unhappy with their current job.  

4. Over Socializing 

Too much socializing could also be a sign of disengagement. If your employees are constantly wandering around the office or gossiping at the water cooler, that is a sign that they are bored and they are trying to get away from their desks. By doing this they are avoiding their responsibilities and contributing to a lack of productivity.  

5. Avoidance  

When an employee avoids coworkers or work-related events its yet another sign of disengagement. Sometimes, people don’t enjoy the social aspects of work life and that’s okay. But if an employee took part in these things before and is recently showing avoidance, it most likely points to disengagement.  

6. Tardiness 

Tardiness and leaving work early are more signs that an employee is lacking at their job. Sometimes it is necessary to come late or leave early, life does throw curveballs every once in a while. But if it is occurring often and/or affecting work, it is yet another sign. You will want to communicate with your employees to ensure there aren’t any outside forces affecting their tardiness.    

7. Sick Often 

Finally, overusing sick days is a sign of disengaged employees. People do get sick or have doctor appointments, so there should be some kind of leeway. But you know when the use of sick leave becomes excessive, or employees begin to abuse it. Long weekends are usually a sign of this. 

Once you’ve discovered one or more of these things happening it suggested you communicate with your employee and try to understand if there is an underlying reason to be disengaged. However, you do have to ask yourself if that team member is worth saving in the first place. Will their attitude drag down other employees? Will work continue to lack quality? Does the employee even know if something is abnormal? Once you make your decision, work on keeping the rest of your workforce engaged. Recognizing them for their work is always a welcomed idea. If you find out how to motivate them, it will help boost morale and in turn re-engage complacent employees.