When Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work in February 2016 mandated the DoD’s conversion to Microsoft’s Windows 10, most thought conversion would begin right away. The new operating system (OS) was chosen to strengthen the DoD’s cybersecurity posture and streamline the IT operating environment.
Windows 10 offers powerful multi-tasking capabilities and the return of the user-friendly start menu, as well as Cortana integration — a digital assistant that gives users the ability to order food from a restaurant, make travel arrangements, transcribe video messages, schedule meetings, and more. The upgrade also comes with Windows Hello, which supports face and fingerprint recognition, but the game changers from a security perspective are Device Guard and Credential Guard for Windows 10 Enterprise.
With these selling points, why wouldn’t conversion occur immediately?
As with any large conversion, the machinations of government move slowly, and much of the work is just now getting underway. As the roll-out begins in earnest, here are seven points agencies must consider and plan for to ensure a successful transition.
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And remember, a plan to rollback is just as important as a plan to move forward.
The benefits of transitioning to the Windows 10 platform far outweigh the potential drawbacks of sticking with an obsolete system like Windows 7. Win10 is more secure, more efficient, and more cost effective, as the OS is still receiving official support from the vendor. Upgrading may feel like a daunting challenge, but with proper planning, deliberate changes, and sufficient training in place, the growing pains will be minimized and your organization will soon reap the benefits of the more modern platform.
Whether your agency is investing in thick clients, a virtual desktop infrastructure or upgrading each machine individually, make a plan, discuss the challenges with your provider, and do the job right the first time, even if it does take a little longer for full conversion — it will be worth the time and effort.
Vasili Ikonomidis is the senior program manager and service desk manager at NetCentrics Corp.