Windows 10 is scheduled to retire in 2025, but now is the time to start planning. This is especially true for government agencies, whose budgeting cycles are long and complex. But it is also true for any organization that wants to take a proactive approach that avoids potential cybersecurity issues.
For any organization retiring end-of-life (EOL) software, it’s critical to have real-time visibility. One of the most important migration tasks is understanding your inventory of every endpoint and every piece of software installed, where it’s actively being used, and tracking any vulnerabilities and ongoing remediation efforts. Most of us remember the last migration effort and the challenges faced by both government and private organizations when they realized that peripherals and securing additional budgets for new devices that were not compatible posed a significant challenge to their migration timelines and caused massive delays.
Upgrading to Windows 11 is not an option and not knowing your inventory increases the risk of exploitable vulnerabilities. It takes just one exposed endpoint — one still running the EOL software — to give the cybercriminals entry. In many cases, this goes undetected by both IT security and operations teams because they lack comprehensive endpoint visibility across their network.
How to manage the Windows 10 retirement right now
Preparing for the retirement of software as critical as Windows 10 takes advanced planning.
Here’s a short list of what IT needs to document:
- Which machines can’t support Windows 11 and need replacement
- Which machines are running other mission-critical software that will not be supported by Windows 11. And a plan to monitor those to prevent vulnerability
- The machines that have already been upgraded
- The plan to minimize IT risk and not leave any endpoints exposed
- And finally, you need to do all this without overtaxing your IT department
Seem daunting? That’s because it can be, unless you have the right tools.
Understanding the public sector’s unique considerations
With planning cycles for government agencies happening on a strict timeline, it’s not too early to begin budgeting for the Windows 11 upgrade now. 2025 might be more than three years away, but when you take into account the budget planning cycles and how large expenditures are planned for, a 2025 deadline means planning must start now.
You can’t protect what you can’t see: Options for making EOL planning simpler and safer
Auditing your legacy tools and machines is the first step to planning for EOL, but it is just that — a first step. It is challenging to gain visibility into endpoints connected to your network that you might not know about.
Using tools designed specifically to search and secure endpoints is critical. Modern tools can scan your entire network for impacted endpoints, get real-time endpoint data from your environment in minutes, automate the updating and monitoring process, and track progress during the initial upgrade.
Case study: A look back on how Tanium helped AutoNation with the Windows 7 EOL changeover
When AutoNation , made the move from Windows 7/8 to Windows 10, they had multiple locations across several regions and a limited number of staff who could assist with the upgrade. They needed to find an effective solution to streamline their migration in order to meet their deadline.
With over 300 stores, many in low-bandwidth areas, the current tools they utilized lacked the visibility and reporting capabilities to determine if the updates were successful and sending out their limited IT staff to assist if something went wrong wasn’t cost-effective.
With Tanium they were able to:
- Discover the roughly 25% of machines that would not support a Windows 10, and allowed them to budget for new equipment
- Know if the update was successful quickly minimizing the impact on their users
- Deploy the upgrade to the 300+ locations in record time with limited to no disruption to employees
- Use Tanium’s linear-chain architecture to solve issues with stores that had limited network bandwidth, and turn days of distributing files into a couple of hours
- Deploy packages from the Tanium team to fully execute the upgrade, including daily support, testing and more
- Complete the project in a matter of months, when it otherwise would have taken more than a year
Now is the time to make sure you are ready for the next Windows 11 migration. Learn more about how government organizations can make Windows 10 EOL go smoother.
Get a no-cost, no-commitment demo of the Tanium Converged Endpoint Management (XEM) platform today.