Technology

ATM Industry Association: Don't Wait To Upgrade to Windows 10

By / Jun 5, 2015 (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The trade group for the ATM industry is recommending that its members upgrade directly to the upcoming version of Windows—or analyze an alternative platform like Linux or Android—rather than wait for support of older versions to run out.

The ATM industry doesn’t want a repeat of the whole Windows XP debacle.

You know the one we’re talking about—when millions of money-dispensing machines nationwide remained on the old-school Microsoft operating system as late as 2014, despite years of warnings from the software giant that it would be sunsetting the legacy operating system.

It was a tough lesson, and one that some banks learned the hard way—when they were essentially forced to upgrade or pay Microsoft hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly support fees.

The ATM Industry Association (ATMIA), which saw a number—if not all—of its members upgrade to Windows 7 around the time that Windows XP’s support ended, is taking a proactive stance on the Windows-upgrade issue this time around: In a new position paper [PDF], ATMIA is recommending that members upgrade their ATMs to Windows 10 “without delay,” telling them to speed up their process rather than wait until Microsoft ends its support for Windows 7 in 2020.

In fact, the industry is even suggesting alternatives to Windows for future ATM upgrades.

“For those deployers seeking alternatives, the association has a Next Generation ATM Architecture looking into such innovations as Linux-based ATMs or Android-operated ATMs,” ATMIA CEO Mike Lee said in a news release. “We expect there to be some parallel trajectories in [the] future with a mainstream solution adopted by the majority of deployers, probably Windows 10 in our view, and alternative systems like Linux and Android.”

The ATM industry is known for having a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to its computing systems. For years, the industry was the primary user of IBM’s fairly obscure OS/2 operating system, something credited to the banking industry’s long association with IBM’s mainframes. (Even today, some OS/2-based ATM platforms persist.)

If, however, ATMIA convinces its members to embrace the latest version of Windows, that could reflect a significant change in mindset for the industry.

But while the association is taking this stance, it’s definitely not telling its members to wait if they’re still on Windows XP.

“Bear in mind, it’s not advisable for deployers to wait on the XP system for Windows 10, as there are security risks to being on an unsupported OS platform,” Lee added.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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