Windows' new migration is a headache for ATM fleets

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With the end-of-life date for ATMs running Windows 7 quickly approaching, financial institutions (FIs) are being forced to amend migration strategies and budgets to accommodate Windows 10.

With no firm dates announced for processing certification and delivery dates for new hardware and upgrade kits 120 days or more out, the Windows 10 migration is shaping up to be a scheduling and budgetary nightmare.

Criminals are evolving as fast as the technology that powers ATMs, and machine operators must constantly refine their defense strategies to avoid vulnerabilities. Outdated systems are often convenient targets. Any machines still running Windows XP, or Windows 7 after the end-of-life date, without purchasing Microsoft’s extended support option, won’t have the necessary patches and security updates to counter sophisticated attacks.
Among the advanced features available with the new Microsoft OS, Device Guard is among the most anticipated. Operating alongside Windows 10 as a mini-operating system, the new security feature blocks malicious software giving ATMs an extra level of protection. Industry experts also expect Windows 10 will also come with improved customer interfaces, support for contactless smartphone transactions and the ability for FIs to push out targeted marketing messages to ATM users more easily.

Consequently, delaying migrating to Windows 10 may not be the best option for banks and credit unions that want to take full advantage of these new features.

The good news is that Microsoft has recently announced extended support for Windows 7 until 2023, giving FIs a bit more time to decide on the migration path that best fits their needs. However, Microsoft has already announced that they will end support of Windows 10 in 2026. And, security concerns are almost certain to push more PCI DSS updates in the near future.

There are several migration options available.

Replacing the ATM core. Industry experts anticipate ATMs with 64-bit, a minimum 4GB of memory and anything better than an Intel 4th generation or I5 will be able to run the new OS, which can be achieved by replacing the core for some older terminals in the field.

Purchasing new machines. While the latest machines are being shipped with the more powerful cores, they are still loaded with Windows 7 with a code that will allow the machine to be upgraded to the latest OS once it is released. However, manufacturers are backed up with new orders for ATMs and upgrade kits, and estimated delivery dates are four months or more.

Outsourcing the ATM fleet. This most recent OS migration only highlights the burden of running their own ATMs for FIs. Purchasing new machines or upgrade kits every few years to keep up with changing software, regulations and keeping up with security is only one step in the ongoing ATM compliance game. For banks and credit unions looking for predictable monthly costs, no longer having to worry about upgrades and security, and a compliance guarantee, an ATM outsourcing solution may be the best option.

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