Below is a proposal that will show what Windows 8 and new hardware can present to this company. This plan will provide justification for the new hardware and software, minimize downtime during the upgrade, increase end-user productivity and security, improve connectivity, and lower future administrative support costs. Using new technologies such as Tablets and new operating systems across the corporate infrastructure is unheard of and will showcase MSP’s ability to be on the forefront of technology use within the workspace. These changes will continue to help MSP distance itself from its competitors.
Throughout the company we have approximately 400 desktop machines and 100 laptops that are being used on a daily basis. 300 of the desktops and 75 of the laptops use Windows XP, older processors and network cards that would be compatible with Windows 8. However, they would not meet the increased bandwidth or multi-processing power that new machines would provide and where this company should be as a industry leading graphics company. The remaining desktops and laptops that utilize Windows 7 will be transitioned to lower level tasks not intended for those needing the processing speed and power of new computers, such as front office employees.
To provide our employees the best opportunities to succeed we must increase our bandwidth capability as well as the overall performance of each computer and inter-connectivity. All new desktops and laptops will use at least 4th generation i5 Intel processors. Windows 8 Enterprise will be used as the standard operating system build for all desktops and laptops. Windows 8 Enterprise offers the widest range of options for a company of this size. Desktops machines will come with at least 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet cards, and USB 3. 0.
Laptops will come with at least 8 GB of RAM, 500 GB hard drive, Gigabit Ethernet cards, wireless ac, and USB 3. 0. The 64-bit architecture in the i5 Intel processors will allow for increased speed and productivity while not overspending for i7 processors. The network cards will be able to handle increased bandwidth and future network expansion. USB 3. 0 will allow for faster transfer speeds for removable devices as well as permit backwards compatibility to USB 2. 0 devices. Wireless ac for the laptops will allow for the fastest wireless speeds while remaining compatible with previous wireless standards.
Windows 8 Enterprise will allow for increased security through the following features: branchcache, direct access, group policies, encrypted file system, remote desktop and AppLocker. Some features that make Windows 8 Enterprise standout from the other versions are group policies, encrypted file system, remote desktop, branchcache, direct access, and AppLocker. The branchcache feature allows for branch offices to store content for other uses to use locally without having to download it from the corporate office. Direct access allows for help desk employees to directly access the user’s computer without having to initiate a VPN connection.
Group policies and encrypted file system are available for Windows 7 but continue to enhance the security within Windows 8. AppLocker, which is new to Windows 8 reduces administrative overhead by controlling which users can install and run applications (Otey, 2013). Windows 8 versions come integrated with a new application called SkyDrive. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage service that allows its users to upload files to the cloud. This will allow company user’s the ability to move across our company and still have access to their files on any computer they may log into. The use of SkyDrive by our employee’s will also help
alleviate the use of standard hard drive storage and the cost to purchase and maintain them. Many will question the overall cost of this type of upgrade and migration. However, the facts below will justify the cost. The older machines running Windows XP will have to be upgraded to a newer operating system. By April 2014, technical support and security updates for Windows XP will cease to exist from Microsoft (Dysart, 2014). This means that the majority of MSP’s computers may and will become vulnerable to spyware, malicious software, and harmful viruses which can damage and steal our proprietary information and data.
These types of security risks can be easily avoided by moving our computer’s to the newer operating system. A pilot and main migration will be used to facilitate the upgrade for all of the computers within the company. Two weekends over a span of 4 weeks will be needed to facilitate a migration of this size. Especially moving users that are not accustomed to the Windows 8 platform and drastic visual difference to Windows XP and Windows 7. A small number of users will be selected to participate in the initial migration.
This pilot migration will allow for testing and evaluation of the new computers . The pilot migration will allow us to analyze the operation and allow for any necessary adjustments to the main migration. The pilot migration will take place on the first weekend. After a transition period of two weeks to ensure proper migration the main migration will take place on the last weekend. To facilitate a faster migration, system images will be used to deploy the upgrade from the previous operating systems. These images will contain all of the necessary files for a smooth installation.
The User State Migration Tool (USMT) will be used to migrate select individuals accounts, saved files, Windows settings, and program data files and settings. USMT will allow these settings to be saved to a network share and later deployed to the specified user after the operating system upgrades. Many employees within MSP have inquired about the use of tablets within our corporate infrastructure. To maintain the security of Tablet use, Windows 8 RT Tablets will have to be used. Many vendors produce Tablets that use the Windows 8 RT operating system. Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, Asus, Samsung and HP all make similar Tablets.
Increased price usually means increased features. For employees that would need to use the Microsoft Suite, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 would meet the request for Tablets in the office. It runs Windows 8 Pro, available storage size between 64 and 512 GB, 4th generation i5 Intel processor, wireless n and Bluetooth connectivity. The SkyDrive mentioned above is also offered with 200 GB of free cloud storage. The current trend that continues to grow is BYOD (bring your own device). Many corporate employees are accessing information for work and home on the same device (Corporate Communications, 2013).
To incorporate the use of Tablets within the workspace can be easily done. The question is whether or not we want the employee’s to use them as well as laptops at home. The migration to Windows 8 and the hardware upgrade for MSP’s infrastructure from its current state will increase productivity, security, and administration and keep it on the cutting edge of technology. Windows 8 Enterprise drastically increases the security posture and productivity over Windows XP and Windows 7 through new features and increased administrative abilities.
The benefits of this migration drastically outweigh the costs. Removing obsolete software such as Windows XP will help reduce the risk against cyber attacks that may damage and/or steal our proprietary information and data. The migration proposal above will reduce downtime for our employees and will help facilitate a smooth transition to Windows 8 through its two-phased approach. The possible incorporation of Tablets will also distance MSP from its competitors and will continue to showcase itself as a industry leading graphics company.