Did you know there’s a major new computer problem on the horizon?
Tech experts are calling it the 2020 problem, and it’s predicted to affect half of all businesses in the UK. In January Microsoft is ending the life of some of its most popular business software, including Office 2010 and Windows 7. And when it does, there will be no more support available. Not only does that put businesses at risk of downtime and cyber-attacks. It also means that those who fail to upgrade will no longer be compliant with GDPR.
The way people do business has changed. Today’s working environment is flexible and globalised, with more people working from home and other remote locations. As the world becomes more connected, customers and staff expect to be able to access all the information they need from anywhere, at any time. The digital transformation means that we’re no longer tied to desks – our offices move with us wherever we go. Microsoft has led the business software market for decades, and they’re now encouraging everyone to move to their popular cloud productivity suite Office 365.
What you need to know about the 2020 problem
1) When outdated software breaks, it can’t be fixed. Not only is Microsoft withdrawing this software, they’re ending all support for it too. 2) There are no patches or updates for old software, leaving businesses still using it lagging behind their competitors.
3) Old software costs more to run. Companies that upgrade to smarter, faster, more secure operating systems and migrate to the cloud save a fortune over time, with drastically reduced capital costs.
4) Hackers love end of life software, because it’s far easier to exploit. The combination of no more security updates and lots of unpatched holes makes it a prime target for cyber criminals.
5) Organisations that fail to protect their customers’ data are not compliant with GDPR. One of the main criteria of the new regulation is that you have to use up-to-date, secure software, so if yours is falling short all the hard work you did last year will have been for nothing.
Why not just wait until 2020?
Upgrading your IT infrastructure takes months to do properly, so unless you really like living life on the edge and risking your organisation’s security it’s important to act now. Wing it all you like outside of work, but this is one situation where you can’t just take a deep breath and hope for the best. All good business people understand the value of planning.We might not want to do it… when there’s already loads to do, putting a plan together for something else is a real pain in the neck. But just like any burning issue, the sooner you deal with the 2020 problem the better. Some applications, such as the latest version of Sage Line 50 are already impossible to install on servers running older software. And those that do make it aren’t able to operate at full capacity. It might take a while for all the effects to show,
but it’s only a matter of time.
Here are the five steps to problem solving the 2020 problem in your business. Of course, we can do all of this for you, so you don’t have to:
1. Identify and understand the problem
• Learn as much as you can about what’s going to happen in January 2020
• Undertake a thorough inventory of all your IT systems, devices and software
2. Evaluate your options
• Draw up a good old-fashioned pros and cons list to help you make an informed choice. Consider budget, timescales and organisational structure.
3. Consider how it will affect people, not just the organisation
• Think about how your organisation will be affected, both in terms of production and staff morale
• Communicate what’s happening to everyone and ask for their input
• Organise training and practical support where needed
4. Document the process with a detailed plan
• Build in timescales, KPIs and contingencies. Be prepared for bumps in the road and think about how you will deal with them along the way.
• Identify key personnel and actions
5. Get in the experts
• Enlist an expert who can manage the process for you.
Upgrading your IT system is a smart business decision that doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’ll be more cost effective and create less downtime to do it now; compared to leaving it to the last minute. You can find out more about the 2020 problem and how to deal with it in our brand new guide.