Sumir Karayi

About the Author Sumir Karayi

IDG Contributor Network: Why 2017 is the year that changed Windows management forever

2017 was a truly transformative year in the history of corporate IT. I would even go so far as to say that, in my 25-year history working with Windows in large organizations, I think this has been the single most significant year yet.

The transformation has been the realization that the way we think about every aspect of Windows management, from minor change to full-scale migrations, has to change. It’s worth repeating that the instruments of this collective revelation were WannaCry and NotPetya, which caused some of the worst damage I have seen in my career, so much so that I now think disaster planning must take such attacks into account.

For most CIOs, CTOs and even CFOs, the penny likely dropped in the time it took to discover that a significant proportion of the UK’s National Health Service’s IT infrastructure had been compromised – because of an outdated operating system and the fact that NHS ignored simple security best practices.

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IDG Contributor Network: As finserv companies lag in Win10 migration, are they exposed to attacks?

As is now well-known, many of the prime targets of the devastating WannaCry and Petya attacks were organizations that had – for various reasons – fallen behind with their software updates, including things like Windows operating system upgrades and critical patching.

If there is any one lesson from WannaCry, it’s the importance of staying current with software updates. The ramifications of not doing so are increasingly severe. IT security is now not just a matter for IT departments – it’s a board-level issue. CEO jobs are at risk when a company suffers from a big breach or cyberattack. 

Therefore, you would think that financial services companies, with their heavy investments in IT security and front-end systems, would be scrupulous about basics such as software updates. Back-end computer systems for financial institutions tend to be legacy oriented, meaning their software was likely originally installed 10 or more years ago – many are still running XP, which was the vulnerability point for many WannaCry victims.

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IDG Contributor Network: What Configuration Manager’s 25th birthday party tells us about the future of IT

Configuration Manager is the unsung hero of corporate IT no more.

Indeed, as if to make up for lost time, Microsoft has been marking the 25th anniversary of one of its least-celebrated, yet most-ubiquitous, products with significant fanfare – including, believe it or not, a 30-minute documentary film charting the full story of CM. (And it’s actually really good –  you can watch it here.) Microsoft has also been inviting users to share their CM recollections, too, good and bad.

It’s hard to resist the invitation to reminisce, especially when my own history with Systems Management Server (SMS, as it was once known) stretches all the way back to the beta of version 1.0, which I was helping to implement at a chain of UK banks in the 90’s.

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IDG Contributor Network: Why it’s so difficult for the public sector to stay current on Windows software

For the second time this year, a major public service in the UK, Greater Manchester Police (GMP), has come under public scrutiny for running out-of-date software – specifically, Windows XP. In fact, the BBC reported that as many as 1 in 5 GMP devices are still running XP – an extraordinarily high proportion. Earlier this year, of course, the same outdated OS made the UK’s National Health Service the first standout victim of the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack.

Over the past 20 years, I have worked with hundreds of public sector organizations in both the U.S. and the UK, helping them keep their Windows systems current. I’ve noticed several common challenges faced by the public sector when it comes to this increasingly difficult challenge. (Some are of these challenges are also prevalent in the private sector, but not to the same degree.) In the public sector, main challenges to staying current are typically application compatibility, budgets and skills.

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