Windows 11 and other Updates

IRIS ITIT Systems, Microsoft, Security

Windows 11

It is long running adage in ICT that it is better to be on the leading edge than the bleeding edge. It is not possible to anticipate how a system will behave in all circumstances and environments. Therefore, most organisations are better off not installing the first release of any product, from apps to operating systems (such a Windows 11). There are many enthusiasts who want to take the newest versions and see what happens (this is seen in the long lines outside of Apple stores whenever a new i-phone is released).

Some of our customers are seeing requests to update Windows 10 to Windows 11. While this is a relatively “minor” change for Microsoft, there are many changes that can have consequences to your operations. Some older and specialised printers will no longer work, some software is no longer compatible and there are various other functions that we have already encountered with customers who have upgraded in an uncontrolled fashion.

IRIS IT can help you prepare an upgrade path so that you can test all functionality before “going live” with Windows 11. This prevents the embarrassment of trying to work out why a receipt printer is not working in front of a customer, or worse.

There is, however, one form of upgrade that must not be delayed. Microsoft continually release patches. These are changes and improvements that Microsoft have identified. In most cases, the “patches” can be released monthly. For the changes to be applied, the PC’s (and servers) will need to be rebooted. Where IRIS IT manage the patches, there is a limited time where people will be warned that a reboot is needed. If this does not happen after a set time, a reboot is forced.

Sometimes patches are urgent. This is normally where a “vulnerability” has been identified. This is where a problem has been identified that will allow malicious agents to overcome security and access your machines/data/functionality. Patches that close these “vulnerabilities” need to be urgently installed. Where such a patch is identified, IRIS IT work with our customers to ensure that these patches are installed promptly and applied to all devices and nodes as needed. This will help keep your systems reliable, safe, resilient, and secure.
When you wish to upgrade your operating system (say to W11), upgrade your email or your data storage, talk to us first.

We will ensure that all upgrades are performed in a controlled, planned manner without interruption to your organisation.

Essential 8

Those who enjoy the comedy of Hogans Hero’s will be impressed by Werner Kemplerer’s portrayal of Col. Wilhelm Klink. Being of Jewish decent, Werner only accepted the role of Klink on the basis that he would be portrayed as a fool who never succeeded. Part of his character was that Klink thought he was still fighting World War one.

Modern governments need to carefully consider how our society would be attacked should an external agent wish to weaken or overtake Western society. Over the last forty years all areas of society have become far more dependent on ICT. It is frightening to consider what would happen to society if this access were suddenly removed. Those of us old enough to remember Y2K will know how much panic it caused. Fortunately, most of the issues were identified and repaired years ahead of the turn of the century. There is the natural possibility of a solar flare hitting the earth and “frying” all our electronics and of malicious agents attempting to access and disrupt ICT systems. To this end, the South Australian government have recently released the Essential 8 Model. What this does it is to identify areas of weakness in ICT systems and how they can be mitigated. There are Eight strategies (thus Essential 8) and three levels of maturity. While the SA Government currently suggests that those wishing to partner with the government will be “favourably considered” if they comply, it is a strong possibility that this will become mandatory.

The eight strategies to consider are

  1. Application control
  2. Patch applications
  3. Configure Microsoft Office macro settings
  4. User application hardening
  5. Restrict administrative privileges
  6. Patch operating systems
  7. Multi-factor authentication
  8. Regular backups

IRIS IT has developed tools to assess customer’s current level of compliance, and how to implement processes, procedures, configurations and applications that increase our customer’s maturity level.

Compliance with Essential 8 model improves organisations ability to deal with Government departments at all levels, as well as ensuring that your organisation has taken all reasonable steps to maintain resilience, safe, reliability, and security.
IRIS IT has the tools to assess your organisation, report the level of maturity for all of your ICT systems, and provide a pathway for improving maturity.