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The most modern companies likely use the latest technologies and tools, empower their employees, employ sophisticated cybersecurity techniques, and foster an environment that embraces change. Oftentimes, that’s easier said than done, especially for companies without a significant digital transformation budget or with hundreds, even thousands, of employees scattered across different locations.

Businesses around the world are beginning to prepare for the transition from Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Office 2010 solutions to Windows 10. Support for Windows 7 and Office 2010 will end in 2020. Navigating this change and managing the process of identifying new digital solutions requires some proactive planning.

Top down support fosters buy-in

Securing executive sponsorship plays a critical role in successfully carrying out company-wide technology updates. Having support from business leadership will encourage interest in the technology, promote company-wide adoption, and convey support for the teams responsible for carrying out the deployment and migration strategy. Whether a company has 40 employees or 4,000 employees, taking change management into account is important. Consider strategies such as phased implementation over the course of several weeks or creating a series of employee trainings or workshops to explore new capabilities. It’s also a good idea to share the benefits of the technology upgrade widely to encourage buy-in from employees at every level of the company.

Alongside change management, business leaders should ensure that their network and applications can handle the migration and seamlessly integrate new solutions. Address updates and maintenance needs for hardware readiness, outline new daily processes and pathways that make the most of new tools and capabilities, and provide employees with support to navigate new security requirements or protocols.

Next level security features in Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus

The average cost of a cyberattack has risen to $1.67M. As hackers’ sophistication continues to evolve, it’s critical that organizations have access to the most sophisticated security tools. One of the biggest benefits of upgrading to Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus is the collection of advanced security features and capabilities built into both solutions. A move to Windows 10 will ensure that companies continue receiving the latest software updates and security fixes.

Businesses that upgrade to Windows 10 will be in a better position to manage data security and reduce the risk of data breaches and costly malware attacks. Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus include infrastructure-level security with credential obfuscation, virtualization-based security, and AI-powered data loss prevention technology.

Features like password-less authentication and multi-factor authentication can help stop 99.9% of identity-based attacks. Modern identity authentication and access management platforms with biometric technology (ex. fingerprints or facial recognition) provide further security. Even if a phishing attack successfully locates a correct password and username combination, without access to a second factor, such as a smart phone, the hacker won’t be able to confirm the identity, and will be unable to access company data.

Bringing AI innovation to the workplace

In addition to AI-powered security capabilities, the switch to Windows 10 brings new office tools available in Office 365 ProPlus with cloud-connected capabilities. Algorithm and AI-based tools create more powerful presentations in PowerPoint, provide better grammar and syntax suggestions in Word for stronger writing and smarter, and more streamlined spreadsheets in Excel.

The traditional Office 2010 platform’s capabilities were locked, making it impossible to grow and evolve without purchasing a newer product. Because Office 365 ProPlus exists in the cloud, AI technology will continue to evolve alongside the tech industry, allowing Microsoft to automatically apply advancements and software updates to solutions.

This intersection of AI and cloud computing also allows for quicker access to workloads across the enterprise.  Office 365 ProPlus links files and gives the user easy access to everything they have been working on, what has been shared with them, and visibility into trending documents. This provides a degree of collaboration that allows employees to work more efficiently together to accomplish objectives. It enables co-authoring of documents to streamline projects and end unnecessary hold-ups that occur in the back and forth among teams and decision makers.

Leverage personalized resources

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for company-wide migration, especially considering technology upgrades for businesses of various sizes—from 40 employees to 4,000. That’s why Microsoft Labs is providing hands-on experiences for IT decision makers and their teams. Explore and test out deployment and migration plans in a sandbox environment, test and perfect configurations and deployment strategies and walk through the details of migration and deployment processes.

Prepare your team for end of support by registering for the Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Workshop at the Microsoft Technology Center near you. Save your seat now.