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POSReady 7 End of Life: The Final Countdown

These last 12 months have brought about an unmitigated amount of uncertainty. Between the pandemic and the subsequent scramble to become as frictionless as possible, retailers can be forgiven for neglecting their back-end IT infrastructure. However, with the easing of lockdown and summer shopping influx about to start, retailers need to evaluate which of their point of sale terminals are at risk of the impending October 12th deadline. This date signals the termination of support for the Windows operating system on Microsoft Windows Embedded POSReady 7.

Modern day POS terminals, including self-check-out kiosks, are subject to the same upgrade and support cycles as other computer platforms. They are equally dependent on the continued support of operating system and application providers. Retailers with legacy POS hardware terminals purchased prior to 2014 should closely examine which generation of processors their POS uses. Those that have Intel or AMD processors manufactured in the last 6 years or so will not be able to upgrade to 32-bit Windows 10. With no supported upgrade path to 32-bit Windows 10, the most obvious remedy would be to rip out and replace all hardware.

A Costly Endeavour

Ripping and replacing POS hardware can prove costly when one factors in the sheer number of devices per store across the total retail landscape. Beyond financial cost, it can also lead to prolonged periods of downtime, resulting in longer in-store waiting times and an increased risk of cart abandonment. Failing to act, however, would mean that these terminals will be unable to access the latest updates and patches, exposing the retailer to much higher security and compliance risks – such as PCI-DSS.

While the software for POSReady7 end-of-life will continue working after the deadline, any touchpoint, such as the POS, that is still running on this software version will no longer be PCI compliant, which is a major risk management issue. Prior to the deadline, it’s critical to review your technology stack to ensure compliance before these deadlines approach or risk facing hefty fines and security risks.

Nick East
CEO, Zynstra, an NCR company

A Better Alternative

Rip and replace is not the only solution: a better alternative would be a software-designed strategy. By virtualizing all devices, the IT infrastructure becomes decoupled from hardware constraints; thus, nullifying the cost and panic that accompanies each deadline for the end of Windows vendor support.

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Questions for Retailers

1) Which operating system is our POS running, and which processor is it running on?

  • All POS terminals with Microsoft Windows Embedded POSReady 7 (or POS Ready 2009) face compliance and support challenges
  • All POS terminals that contain Intel processors older than third generation are not supported to run Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 64-bit. A hardware upgrade may be required to facilitate a move to Windows 10
  • All POS terminals that contain modern Intel processors from third generation onwards are not supported to run Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 32-bit. This poses a difficult conundrum for retailers with 32-bit applications as they seek to move to Windows 10.

2) Is PCI/DSS compliance of key importance to our business operation?

The implications of compliance and non-compliance vary based on sector, geography and technology. If compliance is of paramount importance, then actions need to be taken as of October 2021.

3) Are there plans in place to replace POS hardware, or does my strategy require that we extend the life of current systems beyond October 2021?

If retailers are planning to upgrade their POS hardware before the deadline, then this issue will be solved. However, the hardware replacement costs could be substantial. If not, remedial action will need to be taken to extend the life of current hardware beyond October 2021.

Software Defined Store

In the case of retailers that have already taken measures against POSReady7 end of life, it is still worth considering the benefits of POS virtualization: POS longevity, less costly maintenance and update cycles, greater flexibility to transition to touchless checkout and a more secure way to manage, monitor and maintain your POS environment.

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