Microsoft has maintained a supply of security patches that have pretty much kept pace with the armies of hackers out there who keep attacking Windows XP, and when you add on an extra layer of protection like Solidcore Suite for APTRA, it’s very robust.
So if all is well with XP, why change?
Security and compliance is the primary driver. Microsoft has announced that as of April 8, 2014 they will no longer support the Windows XP operating system, and that means the cessation of security patches. Therefore the only way to keep ahead of the criminals and be sure of staying on the right side of compliance requirements such as PCI, is to move to the next supported version of Windows: Windows 7.
Incidentally, NCR will continue to support our hardware and software applications in an XP environment up until 2017, it’s just the operating system that we won’t support past April 2014.
But there some positive reasons to move to Windows 7 in addition to keeping you in control of security and compliance issues. Being a PC operating system, there are many new features and improvements that aren’t particularly relevant to the ATM world; but there are some features that are important, including faster and easier installation, faster boot up times and full support for the latest touch screen technology. NCR will be exploiting these as we develop our solutions into the future.
Once you accept that Windows 7 is the way ahead, it’s then normal to experience feelings of fear, uncertainty and doubt. How much is this going to cost? Can I upgrade my existing ATM estate? Can I buy a Windows 7 ready ATM today? Can I get a Windows 7 ready application in place before 2014?
The best way through all of this is to plan early and define a schedule of upgrades and replacements that can be spread over the years up until 2014, allowing for an affordable rate of spending and ensuring Windows 7 can be in place before Windows XP support stops. To that end, NCR already have upgrade kits available that can take most of the more recent Personas ATMs to a point of Windows 7 readiness. Also all SelfServ ATMs sold since launch in 2008 are upgradeable, although any that feature Core2Duo processors and 2GB or more of RAM are already Windows 7 ready. For new ATMs or kiosks, Core2Duo and 2GB RAM are the key elements that are needed for Windows 7 readiness. These are also available with Windows 7 Migration Rights licenses. So you can run Windows XP on these machines for a while until you’re ready to step up to Windows 7. These licenses cost a little more than a standard XP license, but a lot less than having to buy an XP license today and then a Windows 7 license within the next year or two. So hardware readiness is covered and you can start rolling out upgrades or replacement machines today on a schedule that manages expenditure and brings you in to a soft landing in early 2014 or sooner.
But, of course you need the Windows 7 ready software platform and applications to make it all work. From late in 2011, NCR will have a version of the NCR APTRA XFS platform and APTRA Activate and APTRA Advance NDC available for Windows 7 on SelfServ ATMs, followed in the spring time of 2012 with Windows 7 version of these and other APTRA applications that also run with Personas hardware and on mixed XP and Windows 7 ATM estates. This gives you maximum flexibility in planning the conversion to Windows 7 and also gives you enough time to get it done. But only if you start planning now.