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A strategy to manage your Windows 10 lifecycle

In case you missed it, Windows 10 isn’t the last version of Windows, really it was the first release of getting a new version twice a year! The above chart shows the releases in the past two years.

The concept is called Windows as a Service, but what it boils down to is the fastest pace of Windows version releases ever seen. And with each version release, there is a version retirement (indeed, the first version of Windows 10, 1507, is already end of life).

For any organisation this upgrade pace will be a challenge that will need a management strategy.

This post provides an example strategy for consideration. Read more

Evaluating application compatibility before upgrading to Windows 10

A key task before upgrading to Windows 10 is to understand the compatibility of your existing desktop application. To this end, Microsoft recently announced general availability for their cloud based Upgrade Readiness service. Read more

Windows 10 “as a service” and support timelines

Microsoft provides information in various location on Windows 10 end of support timings but there is no single location that provides a summary.

The below chart provides a single summary of Windows 10 end of support dates.

To understand more about the release and retirement rationale, and for the latest dates, see our Windows as a Service page.

Microsoft Stream – audio transcription test

Microsoft Stream, the internal video sharing tool for business, includes a speech to text transcription service.

The service provides a great example of how to make an Office 365 migration provide additional business value, so in this post I do a quick test of the speech to text transcription.

The above video is an upload of a snippet of a webinar on IT strategy that I have previously recorded and let Microsoft Stream do the transcription.

The primary purpose of the transcription is to allow users to search the video for key words, as such the text does not need to be 100% accurate.

The transcription is reasonable, but I do wonder if it is accurate enough to be useful. Admittedly I am speaking rather quickly, the audio is from a telephone, and there is the odd background noise.

With that said, the imagery on the Microsoft Stream website (see below) shows speech to text transcription with multiple users talking. Seems a bit optimistic to me.

Windows 10 versus Windows 7 rate of adoption, 2 years on

I recently read a research report from Forester that provided the total cost impact of deploying Windows 10.

The December 2016 report aims to take into account the cost of Windows 10 deployment versus the business benefits.

One observation in the report stated that:

many employees were already experienced using Windows 10 at home, so training and support was much easier than in past deployments“.

This made me curious on the inference that Windows 10 must have achieved better market share growth than Windows 7, so  I checked the statistics from (Win 7 stats, Win 10 stats).

The below chart illustrates the growth of Windows 7 and Windows 10 in the months after their respective general availabilities. You can also see the impact on the incumbent Windows operating system of the day, XP and then Windows 7 (no, Vista and Windows 8/8.1 don’t count!).

My key observation: Windows 10 significantly outpaced Window 7 in terms of initial OS market share gains, this is well known. But, to my surprise, that gain has largely disappeared, and two years on their market shares are about this same. The impact on the legacy operating systems is insignificantly different (XP and Win 7 is single percentage points).

Given the above, as a general statement, I suspect the benefits to training and support of enterprise Windows 10 deployments due to more people using Windows 10 at home have largely disappeared.

The changing face of antivirus

Perhaps the turning point for antivirus was in 2014, when a Symantec executive declared that antivirus was dead. The statement was in reference to the traditional antivirus approach of comparing software against a database of known viruses.

The “traditional” approach misses new viruses that have not yet made it into the database, and is ineffective against exploits that directly attack computer memory without deploying malicious software onto the compromised computer.

The challenges with “traditional” antivirus were well known in 2014 and various companies had developed solutions. Companies like Hitman Pro with protection against in-memory exploits (acquired by Sophos in 2015), SentenielOne with the ability to rollback encrypted files from crypto viruses, and Malwarebytes with virus cleanup tools.

Now, four years since the “antivirus is dead” statement, we have significant improvements in the capabilities of “modern” antivirus solutions.

If you are planning a Windows migration project it may be the perfect time revisit your antivirus technology.

In this post I’ll highlight the key advancements to consider. Read more

Windows 10 S, interesting, but not for business

Last month, Microsoft released Windows 10 S, a skew of Windows 10 that is “inspired by students and teachers and it’s the best Windows ever for schools”.

Microsoft claims Windows 10 S is “also a great choice for any Windows customer looking for consistent performance and advanced security“.

Despite the claims, Windows 10 S is unlikely to be a great choice for business, even though no one will disagree with the benefits of consistent performance and advanced security. Read more

Remotely stealing Windows credentials with help from Google Chrome

A security researcher has demonstrated how to remotely steal a user’s Windows credentials through Google Chrome. I expect this will be seen in real world hacks soon, so take some simple preventative measures now. Read more

Future Lawyers Summit: cloud versus on-premise computing

During the week past the Future Lawyers Summit was held in London. It was a good conference and had a multidisciplinary mix of lawyers, marketers and a few technology folk. I provided a short presentation about using cloud versus on-premise computing. The day was streamed over the Internet and you can view my presentation from the recording below (total time is about 15 minutes).


A self assessment IT security checklist

The following check list incorporates guidance from the ICO and GCHQ on data protection, IT security, and cyber security.

In addition, we have included our own experience.

The checklist provides a very easy way to get a view on your level of IT security in place.

Ask the appropriate person, or people, to go through the list, and tick each item that is covered.

Then you can take a measured decision on the action to take on the items that are not covered. Read more

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