Windows 7 end of life: Modernizing your hotel access management system

By Richard Eastburn 1. July 2020

win7

The Microsoft operating system Windows 7 is dead. Are you operating on overtime? This situation calls for a necessary upgrade that also may make it easier to understand the need for future-proofing your hotel access management system.

From January 14th 2020, Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. This means that the OS will not be upgraded with new security patches, and it will soon be vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

One example of how hackers’ attempt to hurt your business, is by using ransomware; they send a false email, persuading you or an employee to click on a link, activating the malware. Instantly, the software on the infected PC is locked until you pay a ransom.

Imagine a situation where you can’t make reservations or issue keycards. A hotelier in Austria experienced this several times. Incidents like that could cost you not only money but also time, human resources, and damage your reputation.

Professional support

To prevent such scenarios, computers and servers functioning on Windows 7 must be upgraded to the newest operating system, Windows 10. Then, the risk for malware is reduced due to continuous patching and upgrades, served by professionals at Microsoft.

It’s possible to order tailor made security updates for Windows 7, but at a cost. The best solution is to upgrade to Windows 10 as it is designed to support and protect the software solutions that your property uses today, as well as those being released in the foreseeable future.

Future-proofing hotel operations

Such an exercise takes a lot of resources, as every PC needs to be upgraded to Windows 10 and any software on the PC also needs to be upgraded to ensure compatibility, sometimes with on-site IT support being required. These are tasks that consume time, human resources, and money, but the job has to be done. In return, you have invested in future proofed IT conditions where your IT department will be able to run what we call a proactive lifecycle management of the IT software, in a self-regulating environment with low maintenance.

Finishing this task, you should consider a similar maneuver for your hotel management system. As with the upgrade to W10, many of today’s hotel management solutions involve some manual routines. On-premise solutions need updates regularly; every pc and server must use the latest software to serve secure and reliable operations.

SaaS

Your burden and overall responsibilities will be reduced by investing in cloud-based solutions,with the hotel management system and several other solutions able to simply rely on the PC’s web browser for updates and maintenance.

Utilizing Software as a Service (SaaS), means that the vendor is responsible for smooth operations, you no longer need to run on premise servers, and the updates are automatically applied as they are developed ensuring that your systems are running on the most up to date and secure versions

Benefits you can achieve include:

  • a continuously higher level of IT security
  • safer and more reliable operations with disaster recovery and business continuity as part of the service
  • centralised operations, management and control, with fewer manual routines to maintain the digital recourses
  • scalability of IT recourses depending on your needs

Security effects

The security effects are apparent. Earlier, we discussed ransomware and how malware by email blocked critical IT systems. Running SaaS means that systems essential to running the hotel are separated from the email client. I.e., there are no conduits between threatening emails and critical software.

When we look at comparing cloud based servers which are always-up-to-date with on premise servers, which could be running Windows 7-based server the risk difference is enormous and an attacker could easily compromise the traditional server whereas they simply won’t succeed with a cloud solution.

COVID-19

The coronavirus situation seems to be influencing our way of work now. It appears that this change will last for a long time to come, and we strive to avoid close contact with colleagues to tackle the spread of this contagious virus. Here, a cloud-based IT strategy makes an additional contribution: Centralized operations, management and control minimize the need for IT personnel to work hands on with co-workers and clients following social distancing protocols.

Modernizing hotel management system

In sum, my takeaway message is this: If you are in need of modernizing your OS, it’s wise to also consider modernizing the hotel access management system. Only then can you ensure safe and reliable security access operations throughout your business at all times.

This could mean moving from Visionline or similar on-premise solutions to the cloud-based Vostio Access Management platform. Included below is a guide that can provide you with some additional insight into this kind of transition, along with further details on the many benefits that a cloud-based access management system can provide to your hotel operations:Modernizing the Hotel Access Management System  Download our free guide now ›

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By: Richard Eastburn

Richard is Managing Director of Hospitality UK business for ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and oversees sales, installation, service, and support efforts for hotels throughout the UK. With a clear focus on adapting business strategies to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry, Richard has successfully helped hotel groups deploy new systems, software, and mobile access technology in time-constrained projects and in a manner that addresses the latest market expectations.

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