Windows 10 migration for ATMs: The clock is ticking

Thirteen-and-a-half months from now, support for the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system will end.


By then, all but a handful of financial institutions around the world will have made one of several choices that include:


  • Migrate to the newer operating system at considerable cost and replacing any ATMs too old to upgrade.
  • Enter a contractual arrangement with Microsoft to provide ongoing security support for the outdated operating system at considerable cost.
  • Take a gamble that hackers will not discover a security hole in the outdated operating system or, that if hackers do discover a security hole in the system, they'll attack someone else's ATMs at their (considerable) financial and reputational cost. Those deployers will, of course, be hoping that the "someone" is you.


Sound familiar? It should, to anyone who was involved in the ATM side of the banking business just a few years ago and had to make one of those choices about upgrading to Windows 7.


Once again, the clock is ticking.


NCR Corp. is already working with customers to make the transition as smooth and efficient as possible — and to make the most of the new ATM functionalities Windows 10 supports.


ATM Marketplace caught up with Alastair J. Hogben of NCR Software Solutions, who addressed frequently asked questions about Windows 10 migration.


Q: Let's start with the basics of Windows 10 — migration deadline, hardware requirements, etc.

A: The migration deadline is Jan. 14, 2020. As for hardware requirements, NCR can help to determine what upgrades you need based on the status of your ATM. Estoril cores are needed to run Windows 10 on NCR ATMs.


Q: What happens if a deployer fails to upgrade — or just decides not to?

A: Once Microsoft ceases to support Win 7, it will no longer provide security updates, application patches, or technical support. This means that Windows 7-based ATMs will no longer be PCI DSS compliant and their owners can face financial penalties.


These ATMs are also at risk from attackers who could take advantage of the well known vulnerabilities similar to the Wannacry attacks from 2017. This also opens up reputation risks through the previously mentioned security risks.


Q: What are the features and benefits of Microsoft Windows 10? Some in the industry say they're negligible; do you agree?

A: Some of the features are:

  • Heightened protection of customer data and advanced protection of malware and tampering.
  • Windows 10 Internet of Things enablement of security and innovation in the future.
  • A lifecycle of up to 10 years. Windows 10 IoT Long Term Service Branch offers support for years to come and provides long-term PCI Compliance.
  • Ability to implement future NCR releases and solutions that take advantage of Windows 10 security features.
  • A rich Intuitive user interface coupled with contactless and seamless connected consumer experiences.
  • We at NCR do not take our customer's security and vulnerability lightly. We offer the newest, innovative solitions while keeping our customers protected. So no. To us, these features are not negligible.


Q: ATM deployers have been subject to so many upgrades over the past several years … Do you think that this next one might push many banks into an outsourcing model for the ATM channel?

A: All software and hardware, whether large or small, needs to be updated. ATMs are by no means an exception. ATMs are dealing with money, security, and peace of mind for the customer and supplier alike.

When financial institutions look into an outsourcing model for the ATM channel they are forgoing the maintenance that we can provide them on a personal level. When FIs look into an outsourcing model they are settling for a generic level of service, something that we at NCR do not think is acceptable.


Q: What steps are involved in the upgrade and what kind of timeline should ATM deployers allow for migration?

A: All of our customers are different, and we at NCR are here to cater to their specific needs. Complex migrations can take up to 18 months but most migrations usually fall in the 12–18 month time window. We are 13 months away from our Windows 10 deadline, so the time is now.


Q: What stopgap measures are available for deployers who can't make the upgrade by the deadline?

A: NCR has multiple packaged solutions to fit every financial institution's needs. As of now we recommend that all FIs speak with their hardware and software representatives to see what specific solution we offer.

Every situation is unique and we can be there for all the upgrade and migration processes. The only thing we cannot control is the Windows 7 end-of-support date in Janurary 2020.


Q: What about FIs that never got around to installing Windows 7? Can they jump directly to Windows 10?

A: For financial institutions that are still running XP we highly encourage you to migrate ASAP. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and your vulnerability would be even higher than those who might try to stay on Windows 7.

You can go from Windows XP to Windows 10 as long as your hardware supports Windows 10. Once we know what ATM fleet you are working with, we can give you an assessment on how to give you the most seamless migration possible.


Q: There were some complaints with the Win 7 migration that ATM vendors were too slow with their own upgrades. Where are manufacturers with this round?

A: Although we cannot speak for other manufacturers, NCR has already taken into consideration the end of life for Windows 7 and we have hardware and software solutions that are customer-ready today


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