Machine to Machine (M2M)

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020

Top 5 Risks When You Stay with Windows 7 this 2020 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows 7 after a ten-year stint—as announced last December 16, 2019.

The purpose of this direction is for the tech giant to pour its ample resources into more lucrative, newer technologies. Essentially, Microsoft has squeezed as much juice as it can out of Windows 7. It doesn’t make sense for them to continue providing technical assistance and software updates that protect PCs using the outdated program.

The Impact on Your Businesses

First and foremost, Windows 7 is still being used on 39% of all PCs.

And a year from now in January 2021, Windows 7 will be used on 18.7% of all PCs, which accounts for around 281 million machines.

What does that mean, exactly? That even at under 20% of total usage on PCs, there are still over 280 million systems with Windows 7 in place. At such a vast number, it’s fair to guess that small to medium businesses make up enough of those totals. Especially since many owners might wish to sidestep the costly nature of upgrades.

Though, with the removal of all support for the system, keeping Windows 7 installed will end up being more costly than merely paying for the upgrade to Windows 10.

So, as a business owner or stakeholder who may still be using Windows 7, you’re likely interested in knowing what might happen after neglecting to upgrade.

Let’s examine some of the most significant risks involved in continuing to use Windows 7 on your PC and how it can affect your workplace:

The Top 5 Risks of Staying with Windows 7

Risk # 1.      No More Technical Support

Last year, Microsoft patched 29 Windows 7 vulnerabilities in April alone.

Of those vulnerabilities, 6 were rated critical with the other 23 being deemed important.

Think about it, that’s one month alone—and the only reason those changes were made was due to an extended support phase focused on fixing flaws. Those snafus on Windows 7, since it’s an older system, have continually surged over the years. Now, without support, these issues will be seemingly never-ending.   

Risk # 2.      Heightened Cybersecurity Risk

Studies from 2018 about cybersecurity in small-and-medium-sized businesses reported that 67% of survey respondents experienced some form of cyber-attack. On top of that, another 58% went through a data breach with employee or customer information.

These stats prove that businesses are already susceptible to these attacks. With Windows 7 now lacking the infrastructure to deal with these issues, if you don’t upgrade, the consequences could be disastrous.

Risk # 3.      Additional Costs

On a per-system basis, it’ll be possible to receive extended security support. However, there’s an additional fee paid to Microsoft per computer to obtain the appropriate security updates. Furthermore, the dollar amount owed to Microsoft will double every year and caps out at a maximum of three years.

The price begins at $50 per machine—meaning by 3 years it’ll be $150 per device. If you have around 10 machines, that can prove quite costly.

Risk # 4.      Falling Behind the Competition

As Windows 7 becomes more obsolete, more businesses will be using Windows 10. 

As technologies keep improving, functionality enhances. If you’re on an outdated system, the slower it’ll run, and it’ll be less equipped to handle the state-of-the-art tools that’ll keep you ahead of your competitors.

Risk # 5. Frustrating Your Team

When your employees end up with inferior technology, their morale tends to suffer. For many staff members, it can be a bad look when you fail to equip them with systems, programs, and software that isn’t – at the very least – up to date.

If you don’t update to Windows 10 soon, your team might get the idea that you aren’t invested fully in their success. From there, frustration brews, work tends to be negatively impacted, and you’ll have an office full of employees at their wit’s end.

The Very Real Problem of Malware in the Workplace

As technology keeps reaching new heights, so does its propensity to be malicious and dangerous. Businesses far and wide must be eternally vigilant in the face of these threats that can damage both their reputation and bottom line.

For instance, recently, Landry’s, Inc., an American, privately owned, multi-brand dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming corporation, identified malware on its payment processing system.

The malware was designed to access payment card data from cards used in person. Interestingly, the card data wasn’t readable due to the end-to-end encryption technology used at points-of-sale. So, the malware was prevented from accessing payment card data.

Although this hasn’t occurred on a Windows 7, these attacks come from everywhere when sensitive information or money is involved. As proven by Landry’s, with state-of-the-art systems in place, these cyber breaches situations can be nipped in the bud.

So how do you mitigate these risks?

The short answer is to move to Windows 10 to receive the full support from Microsoft. This can be done by upgrading your operating system on your existing PC’s, assuming your hardware is capable of handling the demands of a modern operating system. If you PC is more than 3 or 4 years old, it is probably more cost effective to simply replace the PC.

M2M: How Does It Affect Your Business?

M2M: How Does It Affect Your Business? 150 150 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

M2M Technology Laser PrinterThe proliferation of networked devices is a rapidly expanding sector that provides immense benefits because of a single vital factor: Data acquisition. Interconnected devices (can also be referred to as smart devices) can acquire data based on user behaviour. Take automated thermostats, for example. They observe homeowners’ habits (time when they turn up the temperature, preferred room temperature, etc.) and then use those data to function automatically. More importantly, these devices are equipped with the kind of technology that businesses can leverage for better services and improved profits.

What Is M2M?

Machine to machine technology (M2M) is focused on the way machines (devices) communicate with each other. This technology isn’t really new. In fact, it’s been used before the dawn of personal computers and Internet in applications like telemetry and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). The automated communication of data through both wireless and wired systems allows businesses make more informed decisions as the needs arise.

Modern M2M connects devices to remote computers. It uses the cloud to manage devices and collect data. Take delivery trucks for example. Companies need to be able to track where trucks are in real-time so they can identify which orders have been fulfilled. Monitoring the vehicles’ locations can also help dispatchers plot the most cost-efficient routes and even detect when certain trucks experience problems. M2M communication makes all of these possible.

How Can It Benefit Your Business?

In an era where almost everything is connected to the Internet, M2M technologies make life easier for business owners and their employees. Automation transforms the business environment. By relying more on machines to do the work, we can be guaranteed of more accurate data, which translates to better business decisions.

Relying solely on manpower can have consequences due to human errors. Often, machines that utilise software and programs can do a much better job because they expedite the entire process. While they still require human supervision, the reduced error margin makes them a great way to cut costs. Among others, the ability to remotely manage machines allows businesses to:

Fix problems as soon as they arise.

Equipment, like office printers, can trigger a signal to manufacturers when it’s run out of ink or when it’s damaged. Most of the time, employees won’t know the problem exists until they are about to use the device, and that makes things worse because they can’t print documents they need right now. M2M technology can help avoid this kind of delay.

Reduce costs and reduce the carbon footprint.

Warehouse managers don’t need to go to each site to check machines. That significantly reduces travel costs and carbon footprint. They can be on top of things even from a remote office.

Make employees better prepared to deal with problems.

For businesses that handle repair men sent to houses and offices to fix problems, M2M communications help troubleshoot issues remotely and determine the problem, so that they know exactly what to bring. This keeps them from wasting time and helps them provide swift customer service.

Automate business processes.

Automation is an important aspect of running a business, as having the means to accomplish tasks with minimal human supervision can save a lot of time and money.

Optimise business practices.

Through data acquired from M2M technologies, companies can now figure out better ways to get things done more efficiently. Going back to the delivery truck example, it’s easier to calculate optimal delivery routes and monitor the location of each truck in real-time. This will be crucial in answering customer inquiries and even deal with complaints.

Real-time view of crucial assets.

Communication between devices allows management to view and manage assets in real-time. That includes identifying the exact physical location of items. This kind of information can then be used to manage costs.

Make businesses more proactive instead of reactive.

To improve customer experience, businesses need to not only respond to problems immediately but to anticipate future problems and provide the solutions right away. Going back to the printer example earlier, sensors that report the amount of ink available lets users to order a replacement even before they realise they need it. The same thing applies with cars. Sensors for suspension wear and tear and other engine parts will help manufacturers address the need more efficiently. This also prevents expensive repair costs because car owners will immediately know if there’s a problem.

Provide a hard return on investment (ROI).

Because of the valuable business intelligence (BI) it provides, businesses can save time and costs, as well as find opportunities for innovation and drive customer engagement. All these lead to better ROI.

What Does These All Mean for Australian Businesses?

Businesses know what M2M can do for their bottom line, however, what are the chances of actually taking advantage of these?

Ideally, M2M technologies will play a huge part in enterprises especially with the foreseen growth of Internet-connected devices in the next six years. Cisco predicts that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Asia-Pacific (APAC) is also seen as one of the frontrunners in terms of adopting this technology. In fact, APAC placed second in a survey of regions that consider M2M crucial to businesses. 31 percent of businesses deem it important compared to North America where only 24 percent considers it critical. Europe topped the list at 42 percent.

Out of all the respondents, a total of 40 percent considers M2M important and these companies hope to find more business opportunities, improve existing products and services, and respond to customer concerns in the quickest way possible. The numbers could still use some improvement but they’re definitely a good sign that many enterprises in Australia are aware of the benefits M2M technologies can bring to the table.