replied 2 years ago.
I have finished the paper, 8.75 pages (2846 words) not including Title page Abstract or Bibliography (3066 words total)
I left spaces for name, class etc on the cover page and on the SWOT which you will need to fill in
Cut/Paste in case you need it
Windows 8 Implementation Plan
June 10, 2015
Any major change can be a drastic undertaking. This can be especially true with the company – wide software change. Such changes require timing, precision, and a great deal of meticulous planning. Additionally since plans used within a dynamic environment rarely stay static, it is important that such plans be constructed with adaptability in mind. Furthermore, this critically important that the change-over period does not interfere with the daily operations of the company such that no productivity your profit is lost.
The first thing to consider is: Why does the company wish to upgrade to Windows 8 in the first place? Is it a personal choice of the CEO or CIO? Was there some kind of deal or incentive program offered? Or do they simply wish to keep up with trends? None of these particular options will increase the company’s productivity, however a directive is a directive. With the advent of Windows 8.1, and the upcoming release of Windows 10, is it prudent to consider waiting for the newer platform to arrive?
In any case it is assumed that Windows 8 is the desired, or only available option at this time. As such, the company must be prepared to receive the new platform. In order to do this, several steps must be taken to ensure that both the existing equipment is capable of running the platform and further that the operating system itself causes no conflicts with the current operation critical software. This preparedness must take the form of several distinct and necessary steps so that the conditions for the upgrade will be at optimum levels.
The first action to be taken, is to decide whether or not the five-year-old hardware that is currently in use should be replaced outright or simply upgraded. Replacing the computers as a whole has several advantages. First, the machines could be ordered so that Windows 8 was already preinstalled thus saving on additional licensing costs as well as saving time that would otherwise be spent on upgrading the old machines to the new platform. Additionally depending on the choice of vendor, the operating system could be custom configured by the vendor to the specifications of the IT department. These new computers could also serve a secondary role as phased-in testing pieces and be delivered directly to the chosen “beta testers”.
If however it is decided that such an outright replacement is too costly, then it is imperative that the old machines have their hardware upgraded to the minimum specifications that are required for Windows 8. According to the Microsoft website, this includes but is not limited to: ***** ***** of “1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2”, RAM of 1 Gigabyte or more, at least 16 Gigabytes of hard drive space for the operating system, as well as a graphics card capable of running DirectX 9 with a WDDM driver (Microsoft.com #3). With the ten IT personnel available, each taking approximately one hour, servicing roughly 6 to 7 computers per day, this should take about two days not including travel time between company sites.
Once all of these steps are accomplished, or preferably in tandem with them, some general housekeeping must be done. Initially, clean up utilities such as “ScanDisk”, “defrag”, “Windows disk cleanup utility”, a trusted registry cleaner, and a trusted antivirus program should be used on all of the computers. After this, it is important to verify the integrity of the Shadow Partition using the “System File Checker Tool” to ensure that the current version of Windows has not been damaged or corrupted (Microsoft.com #4). If such damage or corruption has occurred, it may become necessary to repair Windows 7 using the “Deployment Image Servicing and Management” online tool since such corruption might further corrupt or otherwise block the installation of Windows 8. This repair tool which is embedded within Windows is used to restore Windows system files to an uncorrupted state thereby providing a clean environment for the new installation or any other functions that would otherwise be hindered by corrupted Windows files.
After these steps are accomplished, it would be prudent to connect a large capacity USB device to each computer in order to create a hard drive image. In addition to this, the IT professional should also make a copy of all of the “user folders” as well as any company specific software files on each machine. Since these “user folders” encompass the users’ favorites, documents, pictures, audio files, and video files, these folders combined with hard drive image provide the most comprehensive backup plan available in case one or more machines is deemed unfit, incapable, or selectively excluded from the upgrade process. Additionally, the user folders can be transferred back onto the computers if for some reason prior to the installation or during installation itself it becomes necessary to wipe the computer.
Depending on the hardware capabilities (preferably newly purchased or upgraded) of these machines, this would take roughly 5 to 6 hours to complete on each machine. If however, the IT personnel manage their time wisely, they could perform the potential hardware upgrades on other machines at the same site as well as initiating the cleaning procedures on multiple machines in order to save time. If done correctly, 7 to 10 hours per site should be enough time to accomplish the various hardware upgrades, system imaging and backup, and the cleaning procedures.
Once all of these steps are completed, the installation can begin. Although a flash implementation would be much faster than a phased-in approach, any unforeseen complications conflicts between the new operating system and the existing operation critical software would be compounded across the entire company. If this catastrophe were to transpire, it would require a painstakingly long company-wide reset of all the newly upgraded machines, and furthermore would not provide an ideal troubleshooting environment in which any such conflicts or problems could be identified, isolated, and dealt with. Even though a phased-in approach would take much longer, any problems that arose could be dealt with on a small scale, allowing the IT staff to take the time needed to not only the problem, that further to develop a procedure for resolving in the future. Since the problem would be restricted to at most a single department, the impact on daily business could be minimized and further would not require the resources, time, and concentration of the entire IT staff.
For these reasons phased-in approach would be the preferred method for the completion of this project. When choosing the “staggering” of the phased-in approach it would be prudent to establish several “beta testers” from each department. Ideally this would include: one or more members of the support desk staff, 2 to 5 members of the IT staff, 2 to 5 members of the production department, 2 to 5 members of the shipping department, and 2 to 5 members of the sales team. With the sampling, and accurate depiction of the compatibility of the Windows 8 operating system, can be achieved without sacrificing entire departments and thus potentially crippling production. Additionally with members of the support staff and IT staff working with the new interface, they should be able to more readily guide their fellow coworkers through any operational questions or problems that may arise. The use of remote desktop software might further help to expiate these help sessions by removing the need for travel or secondhand descriptions.
The “beta testers” should be given a period of about one month. This should be sufficient to find and diagnose any problems which interfere with daily business. After this the complete rollout should be done for the rest of the company. General instruction regarding the user interface should not take more than two weeks, and when added to the preparatory phase, and the testing phase, the entire process should not take more than two months. There may be additional time required for each individual user to become accustomed to working with new system in the context of performing their familiar duties however, this transitional period should not have a great impact on productivity or daily work levels. In any case, with both support and IT staff trained on the system, the transition should be much smoother than it would have been using a flash upgrade protocol.
One method securely test new implementation would be, to “sandbox” a machine that is using the new operating system. The technique of sandboxing refers to the use of a specialized piece of software such as a “Virtual Machine Emulator” in order to run unpredictable or otherwise dangerous software in a contained environment that mimics the user’s normal conditions (How-to-Geek). Using this isolated machine with the appropriate software, the IT department could potentially run through a simulation of the company’s daily business and identify any observed problems with the company’s operation critical software without actually impacting the real thing. One major weakness to this approach however is that if network or Internet access become necessary during the course of testing then the sandbox simulation will fail unless provisions have been made to allow the software the appropriate access. In this case however, once access is granted, the “sandboxed” computer gains the potential to impact operations in an unforeseen manner.
Security while traveling has been an issue since long before the advent of computers. This tends to be because while traveling, one does not have a secure base or static location from which to conduct operations. Unfortunately, this is a vulnerability which will plague any traveling employee, specifically one that must travel often such as a sales team representative. In order to keep a more firm hold on the proprietary information that is sensitive to the company’s operations, there are several tricks which Windows 8 makes easier to employ, resulting in a more secure traveling experience.
The first and most critical thing to be done is to “require a password ***** wake up”. This Windows feature, which is much more frequently employed now than in previous Windows versions because of the Microsoft Live.com account architecture. In essence, whenever anyone turns on or wakes up the computer from sleep mode, they are required to enter the last user’s Microsoft account password. Since Microsoft takes several steps to ensure the integrity of their account security protocols, this is not as easy a proposition as it would have been in days past for would-be hackers and data thieves. Microsoft has several security verifiers including a secondary email verification via randomly generated security codes.
A second more extreme method is to periodically wipe the computer. Using the user folder backup technique, an employee intending to travel should copy all files from the computer and then delete any files that are not essential to the current trip. Furthermore, they should consider using the Windows 8 refresh feature which removes all but the Windows system files and applications, the system restore feature common to all Windows machines of XP or above, or use the Windows 8 USB recovery feature which like the recovery disc features of old, resets the computer to an “out of the box” state. This should ensure that any malicious software does not return home with the traveling computer to infect the home system. Additionally, the periodic resets would ensure that any sensitive information that was not fully deleted or otherwise stored in additional locations will not become available to intruders. These methods can be time-consuming, however they are the most thorough in ensuring the integrity of sensitive data, of either personal or business nature (Henry, A. 2014).
A third method for ensuring a traveling computer’s security is to “bring your own gear”. First off, secure your laptop in a travel case that features an “over the shoulder strap” design. This will make the laptop easier to carry as well as make it very difficult for a potential thief to remove the laptop from your person. Secondly, carry pre-prepared USB drives containing malware recovery software as well as computer recovery software in case a malware attack, or a power failure, or some other catastrophic event leaves your hardware functioning but your software or files corrupted or inaccessible. Lastly it would be prudent to bring your own hotspot capable device, perhaps even a company issued phone so that you can avoid having to use publicly available Wi-Fi which may or may not be compromised by either malicious software or an active hacker.
The use of the AppLocker software should be considered very carefully before implementation. While the software allows for a great deal of control and conformity, it can also stifle beneficial freedoms. With AppLocker, the admin or admin group can control any and all computers that connect to the company’s domain. With this power, they can set a standard for which applications are to be allowed on each computer. While this can prevent possible software conflicts and security issues caused by individual users installing non-approved software, which may be two large, too numerous, or otherwise incompatible with their computer or the company software, or contain hidden malware, it can also make intended activities such as cross-training or in-house promotion more cumbersome and time-consuming than they need to be. While the uniformity afforded by the standardization software control can potentially increase company solidarity, it could also conversely have a negative impact on company morale as well as corporate culture. Customization of the “workstation” or company PC has almost become synonymous with the customization of an employee’s “workspace”. Restricting such creative efforts in the workplace could be detrimental to productivity regardless of the stability that standardization provides. Additionally, this control only extends to the local work domain and cannot regulate any computer which is taken off-site. This lack of control is expressly stated by Microsoft in their AppLocker functionality overview and frequently asked questions page (Microsoft #1).
Through the AppLocker software, a holdover from the Windows 7 SRP protocols, an admin can use the built-in wizard from the local policy group editor to disable the Windows store for individual users or for the entire machine (Shinder, D. 2014). They can also set policies to regulate which software can be accessed or updated by the user as well as gaining control over automatic updates for the same software. This level of control is good however, it cannot address the CIO’s concern about machines that are taken home. There are only three known options which are considered to be viable and are currently available for accomplishing this task.
First is not to use AppLocker at all but to use the “Microsoft Family” parental controls and to designate each employee login account as a “child” added to the family settings. While this option does provide the intended restrictions it could potentially insult or enrage employees to the point legal action (Microsoft #2). The second option is to have the admin set a group policy to disable the Windows store completely and then “side – load” applications directly via a corporate arrangement with Microsoft. This option is more secure, however it is cumbersome and time-consuming. The last option is to find a third-party program which allows for the specific restrictions that the company wishes to impose. While this option provides the most ideal solution to the original problem, it creates problems of its own in that this third-party software must be supported by its manufacturer instead of Microsoft and has potential to cause conflicts with Windows operating system or any of the operation critical software used by the company in order to conduct business. If all else fails, an enterprising IT staff member could attempt the childish solution of simply removing the Windows store link from the Metro page which would in all likelihood prevent the less technically adept employees from accessing the Windows store manually.
In the end, what procedures are chosen, whatever software is selected, whatever policies are implemented, they will fail in some way to match up with the expectations of any given group, whether it be the executives, the support staff, the IT staff, the production staff, the shipping staff, the sales team, or any of the other employees that work there. Not to mention that anyone using Apple devices will either have to buy android devices, Windows phones, or otherwise find software at the Apple Store that will convert the Windows proprietary format files into something readable by an Apple device. The choice to upgrade now is a case of unintentional bad timing because of the impending release of Windows 10. If someone else within the company with enough authority decides that they like Windows 10, the company will potentially have to go through the upgrade process all over again. Perhaps this time the new Windows 10 will include enough customization within the restriction settings to create the level of standardization that the company’s CIO was looking for in Windows 8.
Windows 8 was a tablet inspired “touch emphasis” overlay on the basic Windows 7 architecture. It offers very few advantages over Windows 7 if one is not intending to rely heavily upon a touchscreen. All of the added features which make Windows 8 a touchscreen viable option simply serve to increase the risk of complications or software corruption and become completely irrelevant if you’re not touching the screen. If the goal in installing the operating system was to keep pace with the latest available software, then it would’ve been more prudent to stay with Windows 7 until the release of Windows 10 was finalized, and then to upgrade directly from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Henry, A. (2014). How Can I Make Sure that My Laptop is Safe When I Travel with It?
Retrieved June 12, 2015 from http://lifehacker.com/how-can-i-make-sure-my-laptop-is-secure-while-i-travel-1495527128
How-to-Geek.com (2015). Sandboxes Explained: How They’re Already Protecting You
and How to Sandbox Any Program. Retrieved June 11, 2015 from
Microsoft.com #1 (2015). Manage Client Access to the Windows Store. Retrieved June 12, 2015
Microsoft.com #2 (2015). Set Up Microsoft Family. Retrieved June 12, 2015 from
Microsoft.com #3 (2015). System Requirements (Windows 8, 8.1). Retrieved June 10, 2015 from
Microsoft.com #4 (2015). Use the System File Checker Tool to Repair Missing or Corrupted
Files Retrieved June 11, 2015 from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/929833
Shinder, D. (2014). Managing AppLocker in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8/8.1 (part 1).
Retrieved June 12, 2015 from http://www.windowsecurity.com/articles-tutorials/Windows_Server_2012_Security/managing-applocker-windows-server-2012-and-windows-8-81-part1.html
Windows 8 SWOT Analysis
Touch Screen Viable Touch Screen Excessive for most work
Microsoft Live Account Security Oversensative or dirty screen can hinder mouse control
Microsoft Live Cloud Features Touch Ergonomically Impractical on Large Screens
Windows Defender Integrated Real-Time Protection Audio Enhancements may conflict with certain Sound Cards
Better Network Architechture than Windows 7 Windows Updates try to override manufacturer updates
Compatability Mode run as previous version Touch Screen PCs dificult to upgrade hardware
Touch screen + Software better for 3d Designing Windows Defender not enough, need second anti-virus
Touch screen better for 3d Product display/presentation Cannot control home access to Windows Store
Upgrade proceedures now in place/codified If employee Live.com account compromised, whole cloud compromised
Live tiles can serve as visual project reminders Windows 10 release may make Windows 8 Obsolete
Live tiles easier access to News/Stock/Market Trend Info