It seems like only yesterday banks had to upgrade their ATMs to Windows 7. Yet here we are again on the verge of another major operating system (OS) update – just a short six years later. Microsoft has set the end-of-support date for Windows 7 for January 14, 2020. The result is banks are scrambling once again to make the switch in a timely manner.
Updating to the new OS, Windows 10, is not a mandated change. However, banks that fail to upgrade in January or implement another viable solution may be faced with additional risks such as added vulnerability to cyber-attacks and malware, fees associated with non-compliance with PCI DSS standards and more.
Why Windows 10?
Despite the hassle of working through the upgrade, Windows 10 promises to be a better, more secure operating system for the ATM. The OS outstrips version 7 when it comes to speed, interface and security.
Windows 10 sports a built-in firewall and security scan system in addition to the usual patches and updates that come with standard Microsoft support. One of the most anticipated features, Device Guard, runs as a sidecar system alongside the main OS. The program is engineered to detect and prevent emerging threats from malware and other up-and-coming cyber threats.
In addition to added security, Microsoft is also promising new ATM functionality that will allow banks to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The Pain Points
If all you have to do is upgrade your ATM OS, Windows 10 sounds like a pretty good deal. Too bad it isn’t ready for installation and new machines are still shipping loaded with Windows 7 with a code that allows the machine to be upgraded to version 10 at no additional charge. In order for any machine to run Windows 10, the terminal must be certified to run the OS by a minimum of one processor. But there have been no certification announcements to date.
In addition to certification, the Windows 10 migration will render many ATMs such as NCR Personas and Diebold IX obsolete. The requirements for the new OS include 64-bit, 4GB memory and an Intel 4th generation or above processor. An I5 will be required for multifunction machines, and upgradable NCR and Diebold machines will need the latest Estoril or Canyon cores. Other Windows 10 capable ATMs include a variety of Nautilus Hyosung machines such as the 7800 and 7600T.
Unfortunately, upgrading and replacing machines is proving another roadblock for many banks. These important pieces of the Windows 10 puzzle are already flooding manufacturers with new orders. Estimates place current backorder at four to six months for new equipment and upgrade kits. The timeline is anticipated to grow as we get closer to January, and large banks and VARs (value added resellers) that operate thousands of ATMs are taking precedence over smaller regional and community banks.
Once new ATMs, new cores and upgrade kits are delivered, scheduling technicians may be problematic as every machine will need to have the new OS installed. New machines are shipping with Windows 7 loaded with a code that allows the machine to upgrade to the latest OS at no additional cost. As with the Windows 7 migration and EMV upgrades, ATM service time tables fill up fast. However, it is hardly possible to schedule installations and future patches when equipment timelines remain in flux and not one ATM has been certified yet.
Options for Banks
Don’t worry, there are several options to start preparing for Windows 10, even while we wait for processor certifications.
Decide if You Will be Upgrading. If you aren’t interested in upgrading or replacing machines, banks have the option to ditch their current ATM program in favor of outsourced management. ATM outsourcing provides customers with convenient ATMs, reduces the bank’s costs, frees up staff time and eliminates the hassle of keeping up with regulations.
Order What You Need Now. If you haven’t already, evaluate the current status of your machines and place your orders for new cores, upgrade kits and machines as soon as possible. The earlier you get in line, the more likely you will have a somewhat timely delivery. Manufacturers such as NCR, Diebold and Hyosung, although they are shipping machines loaded with Windows 7, they are providing a code that allows banks to upgrade to the latest OS at no additional charge.
Take a Look at Extended Service Opportunities. Even if you do get your equipment orders in fast, there is the possibility for other delays such as processor certification and technician scheduling. As with the Windows 7 migration, there will be options for extended support to cover the gap. At least one VAR has already announced extended service plans. There are certain to be more in the coming months. Keeping tabs on availability and costs will help prepare you for any worst-case scenarios.
Additional Options. Other options available to banks to meet customer needs include joining surcharge-free networks or refunding ATM fees for card holders.
Despite the annoyance of another OS upgrade, Windows 10 is shaping up to be a more secure option for combatting the growing cyber security threats. And, while there are a plethora of roadblocks facing banks when it comes to planning and initiating an OS upgrade plan, the upgrade path is not at a complete standstill.
Now is the time to perform internal evaluations of ATM fleets, budgets and strategy. As manufacturers are already shipping new equipment and parts that are capable of running the new platform, there is little risk in placing orders sooner to ensure timely delivery – which will facilitate technician scheduling and help your bank meet upcoming deadlines more effectively.
And, with any major change an open line of dialogue with your processor, manufacturer and service providers will be instrumental in a smooth installation and transition.