Thursday, 9th April 2020

OS migration ‘a headache’

SolarWinds survey also reveals high expectation of a Windows 7 related security incident in 2020.

New findings released by SolarWinds, following a survey of just under 200 IT pros via its THWACK community platform, reveal that most IT professionals migrating OS due to Windows 7 EOL expect it to cause a myriad of problems.

78% of IT pros surveyed agreed that application compatibility issues continue to pose huge problems for them when migrating to a newer OS. The main issues preventing businesses from updating to a newer OS, cited by IT pros were compatibility issues (67%), downtime or disruption (44%), expensive/general costs (42%), competing IT department priorities (37%), underestimating the consequences of not doing so (33%), lack of supporting hardware (24%), and concerns around complexity (22%).

The survey also revealed that three quarters (74%) of IT professionals expect security vulnerabilities related to continued usage of Windows 7 to occur in 2020. Despite these concerns, IT pros also feel confident in the industry’s preparedness for a security incident—and most have already left Windows 7 behind. 92% of respondents have transitioned to Windows 10 and over half of respondents feel that the industry is upgrading OS as often as is should be. In fact, 74% of IT pros also think that the industry is fully aware of the risks associated with not patching and updating.

The importance of making the switch to Windows 10 is well understood, with 97% surveyed agreeing that updating OS is important to an organisation’s security strategy, and 89% agreeing that updating OS is important for regulatory compliance.

The survey also revealed that:

  • 76% of IT pros said that less than 25% of their IT stack contains tech that is no longer supported.
  • IT pros ranked Windows 10 as their favourite Windows OS to work with (54%), followed by Windows 7 (33%), Windows XP (12%) followed lastly by Windows 8 (1%).

63% of managed service providers (MSPs) expect to see security vulnerabilities related to the continued use of Windows 7 in 2020. However, MSPs are less sure of preparedness for a Windows 7 security vulnerability—contrary to IT pros, 62% of MSPs feel that customers aren’t upgrading OS as often as they should be. MSPs do share IT pros’ generally positive outlook on industry awareness, as 77% of MSPs feel their customers are conscious of the risks associated with not patching and updating. For MSPs, their favourite Windows OS to work with is Windows 10 (54%), followed by Windows 7 (46%).

“There is little excuse for not making sure we’re protected against vulnerabilities which arise from an OS that reached end of life. It’s heartening to see that an overwhelming majority of the IT community has made this shift,” said Tim Brown, VP of Security, SolarWinds. “At the same time, compatibility issues are still proving troublesome. It’s vital that these issues don’t leave parts of the business behind and at risk. However, these periods of migration when an OS is reaching EOL are the ideal time to review applications in use, and audit these to improve the security of the environment.”

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