I have Windows 7 in my pharmacy - what do I need to do?
Back in January, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7. This meant that they stopped providing security patches and fixes to vulnerabilities within their operating system. Anyone still using Windows 7 would therefore become vulnerable to any exposed weaknesses, and potentially a target by hackers. Microsoft’s answer is to upgrade to Windows 10. Simple right? Well, if you are in UK community pharmacy then maybe not. Why?
1. It’s not simple to upgrade
Pharmacies are busy environments. From the minute they open until the minute they close (and beyond), it’s a constant hub of calls/ patient interactions/ dispensing/ preparation/ checking and lots more. Every inch of space is needed and used, every minute maximised. A coffee break is rare and even then there are more cold full coffee cups than empty warm ones.
As a result, to find the time and space to self upgrade a PC to Windows 10 is near impossible. The process takes 2 hours or so, and risking a critical business PC for that long and with potential complications, is a problem often not worth prioritising.
2. You may be forced into long software contracts
The other choice is simply to replace the PC with a brand new model complete with Windows 10. The likelihood is that a new PC will be much faster, more secure, and more compatible with any future innovation or software the pharmacy wants.
However, I’ve been made aware that some PMR system suppliers are unfairly targeting pharmacy contractors who are still using Windows 7. They are forcing people to sign up to a four year software contract, purely to permit them to upgrade their hardware to windows 10.
Hardware and software are very different. Pharmacy is forced to combine the two by some PMR system suppliers, meaning you can't split the supply of hardware from your PMR software. In no other industry is specific software in control of the standard PC hardware the customer uses.
Pharmacies are faced with a mandatory 4 year contract term with the software provider, purely to allow them to introduce the latest operating system. It’s not right that contractors are forced into these positions.
The good news is that there are options. Some PMR software suppliers operate in that capacity, as software suppliers. They will sell you their PMR software, but not attempt to tie you into a hardware trap.
If you use one of these products, you are free (as any other business is) to procure and maintain your hardware as you see fit. This means you can go to PC world and buy a new PC with Windows 10, at market rates. Alternatively, if you aren’t ready to switch your PMR supplier yet, or your long PMR software contract still has some time left, then there is another option to remain secure....
Extend your Windows 7 security for a year to give you more time
Microsoft have recognised that some businesses are simply not in a position to buy new computers, or accept the security risk of no longer being protected with windows security updates. Microsoft have made Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (“ESU”) available, providing you have Windows 7 Pro or above. It’s a 12-month paid for service that allows you to stay protected from security threats, without any need to upgrade your PC or accept any long term software contracts.
Who can help?
There are a couple of options available to you:
OPTION 1: Contact Microsoft to extend your support
To take advantage of this Windows 7 ESU offer, please contact Microsoft for more information.
OPTION 2: Call the Invatech Windows 7 Helpline
We have received a large volume of calls on this topic, so have set up a new hotline providing customers a range of options to help you with your Windows dilemma. Give us a call on 0117 2141925 and we will discuss these options with you.
By Jeff Shelley, Chief Information Officer, Invatech Health