Your Windows 10 Transition

Using Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008/R2 after January 14, 2020 puts your systems at risk of vulnerabilities and cyberattacks. When over 200,000 computers were infected by WannaCry in 2017, it was the result of a Windows vulnerability. If a WannaCry-type attack occurs that affects Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, your Windows 7 installations will only have had access to the patch if you are paying for Extended Security Updates. 1

One in three breaches is due to unpatched vulnerabilities. For an organization, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million — the average cost for each lost or stolen record is $148. This makes data breaches worse for most businesses than floods, fire, and transit strikes combined. 2 Data breaches end businesses.

Why Adoption Is Slow

Many businesses do not have the IT infrastructure in place to implement migration to Windows 10. In a January 2019 survey by Kollective (a content delivery provider), two-thirds of US and UK businesses have not developed a strategy to migrate to Windows 10. 3

One of the main worries for businesses is that with Microsoft’s Windows 10 SaaS (Software as a Service) model, IT managers must deal with operating system updates much more frequently. For years the Windows model had been a mass migration every few years. This is still a possibility for Enterprise subscribers of Windows Long-term Servicing Channel (LTSC), but Microsoft discourages its adoption. 4 The SaaS model means more testing, more roll-outs, and more chances for systems to be out-of-date which opens up more points of exposure.

Windows 10 Is Secure and Consistent Across Devices

Windows 10 is more secure than any Microsoft desktop OS before it. Security enhancements include biometrics (facial scan, iris scan or fingerprint to log into a device), advanced threat protection, malware protection, and trusted hardware. The Secure Boot, introduced in Windows 8 was upgraded in Windows 10: Secure Boot now requires that any software that starts along with the operating system be signed off by Microsoft and the hardware manufacturer; users cannot bypass this boot-up certification.

Windows 10 has the same core on all devices (PCs, tablets, laptops, phones) which makes it familiar and therefore easier to learn and use. It also has the familiar and popular Start button — missing from Windows 8. Windows 10 added a touchscreen mode to help certain users work more quickly and efficiently than a mouse or touchpad allows.

What About Running Older Applications?

Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10 is the only real option for businesses long term. But to keep some machines on Windows 7 after January 14, the best option is Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) which can be run in a Cloud environment. However before deployment, WVD needs to be tested with your legacy applications. It is recommended that you work with your internal IT team, or IT partner to verify that everything will be compatible.

Alternatively your organization can pay for ESU, starting at $25/device/year, doubling in price each year until January 2023, at which point ESU will end. So this is only a stop-gap and costly option.

Migrate from Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 to Windows Server 2012/2012 R2, 2016 or 2019. An IT partner like Bryley can help you choose the solution that keeps the functionality your organization requires while getting the security benefits of a modern OS.

If possible, take your migration in stages — don’t try to migrate every machine at once. But don’t put your business at risk by staying with unsupported Windows OS versions. Bryley helps businesses create plans to keep up-to-date with software updates and patches, so organization’s systems run efficiently for the coming years. Bryley’s professionals have a deep knowledge of business software and can guide your organization’s Windows 10 transition. Reach Bryley at 978.562.6077 Option 2.

1 Your Windows 7 systems can remain protected till January 2023 if you pay Microsoft for Windows Extended Security Updates. Enterprise customers with active Windows E5, Microsoft 365 E5 and Government E5 subscriptions can get free security updates through 2020, per “Microsoft End of Support FAQ”.

2 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon

3 One-Year Countdown Begins on the ‘Death’ of Windows 7, https://kollective.com/press-release/the-death-of-windows-7-countdown/

4 On the basis that fewer updates equates to not running the best version of the OS. https://www.computerworld.com/article/3326065/microsoft-trash-talks-windows-10-ltsc-again.html

The Mysteries of Microsoft’s Model for Windows

“All they had to do was come up with a way to charge ten bucks a month and now no one steals music,” I overheard a college student say. He was talking about how Apple transformed from selling software (mp3s via iTunes) to renting access to songs, aka Software as a Service (SaaS). Apple Music now has the most paid music subscribers in the US and based on this success, “announced new subscription offerings for magazines, TV shows and video games”. 1

Per Forbes, 84% of new software is being delivered as SaaS. 2 This selling model built Netflix memberships (20 million renters at the height of its DVD service compared to over 150 million SaaS subscribers today 3 ), Dollar Shave Club razors, Stitch Fix and Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. Subscriptions moved Adobe’s market cap more than 87% since 2012 to $108 billion. 4

Bryley Systems Ranks #3 as a Top IT Service Provider – WBJ 2019

Bryley Systems is excited to announce that we have been ranked as one of the top 3 on the Worcester Business Journal’s 2019 list of Top IT Service Providers. We are proud to be recognized for our commitment to our clients, as well as our staff, and wish to thank everyone for making this possible.

technology patches

Crunching the Patching Numbers

There were 16,516 Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs)1 published in 2018. The time needed to analyze the relative importance of these to your organization would be something like 16,516 alerts times fifteen minutes to read and assess each one, which works out to about 500 days of work. If you decide that your organization is affected by twenty percent of these, that’s 3,304 vulnerabilities times an average of about an hour to patch each one — that will take about 40 days. And how many devices do you have that need this patch deployment? 2

Our New Sign

Bryley Systems was awarded a $3,500 grant from the Town of Clinton’s Downtown Commercial Improvements Program. This Program, which is funded jointly by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, makes funds available to business and property owners who wish to make improvements to their property. With funds from this grant, Paul Tucker of Sign Logic, transformed the Bryley logo into a visually interesting sign, complimenting the company’s historic building at 200 Union Street.

The Curious Case of Windows 7 Legacy Apps

“Support for Windows 7 is Coming to an End. … January 14, 2020 …” nagged a Windows 7 screen last week.

Like any other piece of technology, Operating System software gets obsolete. The obsolescence comes in the form of vulnerabilities to hackers, who get rich knowing how to look for and exploit these weaknesses in the code, compromising the contents of your computer and network.

Obsolescence also comes from more powerful hardware at a relative lower cost that enables the OS to do more with less code. Greater efficiencies in hardware and software mean some businesses will accomplish the same work as other businesses in less time.

And among the more compelling features of Windows 10 is that developers’s apps can scale to work across platforms, so desktops, laptops, phones and tablets function with the same software without the formerly prohibitive development costs of coding from scratch for each device. The result is more robust and cost-efficient software that, for example, can control processes remotely.

But this does not mean you are without legitimate reasons for maintaining Windows 7 software that works for you. The law requires you to have access to the data created with that software: “judges … have potent sanctions options available … when [businesses treat electronic data] preservation … with ignorance, indifference”

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/bad-behavior-in-ediscovery-is-still-30811/

So it is important to maintain your organization’s data created in legacy software. You or an IT partner will need to develop strategies for addressing your organization’s dependence on legacy software. This is sometimes a technical process requiring the involvement of third-party specialists. For instance, some legacy software was built to utilize 16-bit chip architecture. Windows 10’s 64-bit version does not support 16-bit programming. Still Microsoft has made a way to get you the benefits of 64-bit Windows 10, and still allow you to run 16-bit and 32-bit software through virtual machine environments. These virtual machines will probably get you enough access to meet compliance issues, but interface changes may render the legacy apps limited in function. Overcoming these types of challenges might not be appropriate to handle on your own.

If your organization has multiple Windows 7 licenses, the upgrade path can be costly, and not just for the multiple new OS product keys. There may be costs related to replacing your legacy software beyond the cost of the software itself. It is important to consider implementation costs, including possible downtime and employee training. Be sure to work with your IT department or partner to ensure that these considerations are included in your upgrade plan.

An IT partner like Bryley can help come up with a plan to meet your specific upgrade needs, so your business functions productively through the end of Windows 7 and the use of legacy apps, to arrive at solutions that will work for the coming years. Bryley can be reached at 978.562.6077 Option 2. With 32 years of experience, Bryley’s professionals have a broad knowledge of business software and can guide you with your business’s Windows 10 transition.

Bryley Systems Ranks Among Top 501 MSPs for 6th Consecutive Year

For the sixth consecutive year (2014 through 2019), Bryley Systems Inc. has been named as one of the world’s premier managed IT service providers via the prestigious Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings.

Every year, MSPs worldwide complete an extensive survey and application to report their product offerings, growth rates, annual total and recurring revenues, pricing structures, revenue mix and more. MSPs were ranked according to a unique methodology that weights revenue figures according to how well the applicant’s business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

Retired Bryley employees celebrate 65th anniversary

On June 12, 1954, James K. Livingstone married Shirley M. Byerly*; both former employees of Bryley Systems, with Jim’s tenure extending from 1988 through his retirement in 2013. (Shirley’s was employed at Bryley Systems in the late 1980s.)

The wedding ceremony was conducted at a local church, after which the group congregated at 6pm at Shirley’s parent’s home in Pansy, PA. (Pansy is 17 miles north of Punxsutawney, PA; it is farm and (was) coal country where the local population remains sparse, but slightly larger than when Shirley went to the area’s one-room schoolhouse where grades K through 12 sat together; upon entering school, Shirley was immediately promoted from first grade to second grade due to her being the only first grader in the room.)

Did You Feel a Drop? BUDR Pt. 2

Remember the panicked manufacturer with a progression of computer problems that recalled the proverbial “perfect storm”? Today I’m going to sort those problems out, and recommend ways to help keep those things from happening to you. To refresh, here’s what went on with that manufacturer:

The installed version of their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning software) was too old to receive application maintenance and support. They hadn’t wanted to interrupt their workflow, and so hadn’t upgraded the ERP in more than five years.

When and How to Stop Google Chrome From Running in the Background

By default, when you close Google Chrome, the browser window closes, but the application itself continues to run in the background. There are a few reasons for this.

First and foremost, this makes it faster to open a new browser window. Since Chrome is already running in the background, there is less that has to take place behind the scenes before your new browser window appears.  This makes the browser feel quick, even on slower machines.

Running in the background also allows any Chrome extensions you might have installed to continue to operate. These are applications that run within Chrome and either enhance the browser’s existing features, or add new ones. Extensions range from those that change Chrome’s background colors to those that add support for third party applications.

This behavior, however, might not always be desirable.

If you are running an older or less powerful computer, you might find that forcing Google Chrome to stop running in the background could noticeably improve the overall performance of your computer.

Similarly, if you are using a laptop, having Google Chrome running in the background could negatively impact your battery life.  By forcing Chrome to close completely, you might find you can stretch your battery life just a little further.

If you fall into one of these two categories, or would simply prefer to avoid having Chrome run in the background, you can follow the instructions below to disable this behavior.

In Google Chrome:

1. Select “Settings” in the Chrome Menu

2. Click on “Advanced” at the bottom of the settings page that appears.

3. Under the “System” heading, find the box next to “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed.”

By default, the toggle button next to that text will be set to the right with a blue background.  To prevent Chrome from running in the background, simply click the button so that the toggle is to the left, with a gray background (see screenshot above).

If, in the future, you decide you would like to allow Chrome to run in the background once again, simply repeat the steps above and move the toggle back to the left.