Should your business upgrade to Windows 11? 4 key considerations to help you decide

When considering an operating system upgrade, whether it’s Windows 11 or any Windows operating system, there is a process you can follow to evaluate whether the change is a good idea. . Maybe you’re worried you won’t meet the Windows 11 requirements or the migration process could cause downtime. Maybe you’re curious about what will be involved in an upgrade. Whatever your concern, you keep coming back to one question—is moving to Windows 11 worth your time and money?
While Windows 11 comes with the benefits of better security and features that can improve employee productivity, all operating system upgrades (whether Windows 11, another Windows operating system, or even macOS) come with risk and costs for your business. To make an educated decision about whether to upgrade, you should know what your business is getting into.
Why should or shouldn’t you upgrade? What costs are involved? Will the transition to Windows 11 hurt staff productivity? If your mind is reeling with questions, this article will cover everything you need to know about upgrading to Windows 11 and highlight four key considerations to help you make a smart decision.

Is upgrading to Windows 11 worth the effort?

If you’re a long-time Windows user, you probably know not every OS update is worth the effort. Afterall, updating all your business computers can be time consuming, expensive, and rife with problems. To make the best decision, knowing the differences between Windows 10 and 11 is critical.

Windows 11 vs Windows 10

Windows 11 is built on the same foundational architecture as Windows 10. Many users have called it a features upgrade and Microsoft technically could have delivered all these new features in semi-annual updates instead of as a new OS. Below are key reasons why you may or may not want to upgrade.

Reasons to upgrade to Windows 11

  • Single annual update: If you found the Windows 10 semi-annual updates tiresome, you’ll be happy to know Windows 11 has discarded them for a single annual update.
  • Better performance: Windows 11 gets better memory management, an SSD boost, and a higher processing speed, which translates into saved time as apps and the overall system run faster.
  • Optimized for productivity: The new user interface is highly intuitive, customizable, and has better multitasking capabilities. It was designed in a way to block out distractions and improve focus, which can ultimately improve staff productivity.

Reasons to keep Windows 10

  • Capable of running your business: Windows 10 is still more than capable of running all your business applications. In fact, we still run our business on Windows 10, despite the Windows 11 upgrade being available when we bought new equipment.
  • Familiarity: Let’s be honest, change can be difficult. Some of your staff members may struggle with the Windows 11 transition, which can hurt productivity in the short run. While Windows 11 isn’t a drastic update, useful tools like Timeline and Action Center are gone, and the new Taskbar and Start menu will likely take some getting used to.
  • There’s no rush: Microsoft will provide support for Windows 10 till October 2025 and new features are still being added. So if you don’t yet meet the Windows 11 minimum requirements or you’d like to wait to upgrade, you have plenty of time.

Can you upgrade? Windows 11 requirements

Now that you have some ideas of why you should or shouldn’t upgrade, the next question is, can you upgrade? While Windows 10 was designed to operate on older hardware, relatively newer hardware is needed for Windows 11. Here is an overview of some of the key Windows 11 minimum requirements:
  • RAM: 4GB or more
  • Processor: Minimum of 1 gigahertz with two or more cores that are compatible with a 64-bit processor
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with Windows Display Driver Model 2.0
  • Security: Secure Boot capable, TPM version 2.0, UEFI firmware
  • OS: Must be on Windows 10 version 2004 or later and have installed the security update from September 14, 2021 or afterwards

See the full list of Windows 11 requirements here. Essentially, your PC needs to have been made in 2019 or afterwards to upgrade to a supported version of Windows 11. Note, there are also some feature-specific Windows 11 requirements, like a sensor for presence detection, and a speaker and microphone for Cortana. To easily check for compatibility, you can run Microsoft’s PC Health Check app.

4 considerations to help you decide whether to upgrade

1. Application compatibility

Once you’ve confirmed your hardware and systems meet the Windows 11 requirements, your next concern is likely your apps. Will they be compatible with Windows 11?
As Windows 10 and 11 have similar operating systems, most apps that work with Windows 10 will be compatible with Windows 11. However, it’s wise to be certain that your apps will work in the new OS. To ensure compatibility, Microsoft offers two solutions:
  • App Assure program: Available to all Microsoft customers, the App Assure program is designed to help resolve application compatibility issues when upgrading to Windows 11 for business.
  • Test Base: Hosted in Azure, this platform can help businesses validate and test their applications on secure virtual machines.
Regardless of whether you use the Microsoft solutions above, testing app compatibility in a virtual machine beforehand is highly recommended. If you discover an app compatibility issue after upgrading to Windows 11, it’s not too late to change your mind. You have 10 days to roll back the OS to Windows 10.

2. Cost

As with previous OS releases, Microsoft provides a free Windows 11 upgrade for all users who have a legal license. However, just because the OS update is free, doesn’t mean there aren’t any costs.
Transitioning to the software will come with IT department labor expenses and potential consultant fees. You’ll also have more subtle costs, like reduced productivity as employees adapt to the OS and downtime from possible hiccups in the months following your upgrade. Formal Windows 11 staff training also comes at a cost, but it could reduce employee adaptation time, which could save your business money in the long run. And don’t forget, if you don’t meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements, you’ll also have new equipment expenses.
So when considering cost, think of your return on investment. As mentioned, Windows 11 is more of a features upgrade. However, some of those features—like Windows 11’s new Focus mode—have productivity benefits that could improve staff output. The OS’s security benefits (more on that soon) could also save you money by preventing a costly breach.
Lastly, there’s something to be said about upgrading your business to the newest OS. You’ll have access to the most up-to-date security patches and feature upgrades. And you can tell clients and prospects your business uses the latest technology, which can improve your image in the eyes of customers.
Whether Windows 11 is worth the cost really depends on how you define your return on investment. If the above benefits provide your company enough value, upgrading to Windows 11 may be a good idea.

3. Security

Cyber security is a growing concern for many businesses. The third quarter of 2022 saw a 28% increase in cyberattacks from the previous year and there were over 2.8 billion malware attacks in the first half of 2022. If security is of paramount importance in your business, upgrading to Windows 11 may be a good idea as it’s more secure than Windows 10.
Below are some of Widows 11’s key security features:
  • Trusted Platform Module: Also known as the TPM 2.0 framework, this feature makes Windows 11 a passwordless operating system. TPM reduces phishing and has been identified by Microsoft as resulting in 67% fewer compromises than legacy authentication. In addition to the elimination of passwords, TPM also protects your business’s data through device encryption.
  • UEFI Secure Boot: This security feature prevents malicious software from loading as your PC boots up. Why is this important? If your system is compromised before your system boots, then user, endpoint, and kernel security tools can be undermined, leaving your systems vulnerable to cyber attacks.
  • Hypervisor-protected Code Integrity enablement: This feature provides stronger protection from malware that attempts to exploit the Windows Kernel, thus lowering the chances of a system breach.

4. Potential pitfalls while upgrading

As with any upgrade to new technology, you could face issues during the transition process. In fact, from our experience at Leverage IT, problems with upgrading to Windows 11 are common and should be expected. Things break, printers don’t work, and applications won’t open or run properly. All of these issues could damage your business, hurting employee productivity, lowering staff morale, and causing frustration company wide.
If your business suffers a problem like above, how will you handle it? Will you roll back to Windows 10? If so, you’ll have wasted all that time and money for nothing. While each business must decide on its own whether to upgrade, Leverage IT recommends to stay put and stick with Windows 10. Windows 11 for business doesn’t provide enough value to justify the cost, downtime, and potential problems that will likely arise during the upgrade process.
However, if you still believe upgrading to Windows 11 is the right choice, we highly recommend waiting till you purchase new hardware. Because the operating system in new hardware was installed, certified, and validated by the manufacturer, it translates to much less problems as you transition your company to the new OS.
Remember, support on Windows 10 will be offered till 2025, meaning you could wait to see if a better OS upgrade is released and skip Windows 11 altogether. For example, Leverage IT never adopted Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 as a standard because of all its functional problems.
While the choice is ultimately up to you, consider the four points in this article and decide what’s best for your organization.

How to Proceed with a Windows 11 Upgrade

If you still believe there is business value in Windows 11 and upgrading will reap a return on investment, you may be wondering how to go about it. Below are some hypothetical steps you could take to envision how the process will go.
If there are, if there is business value, and a return on investment in upgrading to Windows 11
Create a deployment plan: Think about how you can prepare your helpdesk, early adopters, and your entire organization for the Windows 11 transition. You can provide training or helpful resources for your staff and update scripts and manuals for your helpdesk. If you’re concerned about potential problems during the migration, plan to go through a test process. Upgrade one system, test it completely by running all applications and processes in your environment, and then move on to the next. However you decide to upgrade, devise a plan that accounts for all the parties, technology, and moving pieces involved in the transition.
Identify incompatible hardware: Checking the compatibility of your hardware is critical to your Windows 11 migration. If you discover much of your hardware doesn’t meet the minimum Windows 11 requirements, you may decide to skip the upgrade altogether due to the costs of purchasing new equipment. For that reason, it pays to assess the compatibility of your hardware early so you avoid wasting time if you decide Windows 11 isn’t worth the new equipment investment.
Identify incompatible applications: While many applications will work with Windows 11, you may have apps that won’t. If you discover a critical application doesn’t meet the Windows 11 requirements or isn’t compatible, you can decide to find a work-around app or roll back your upgrade.
Assess your data risks: As with any technology transition, data loss is a real possibility. While the chances of losing data during a Windows 11 upgrade is unlikely, some businesses may have greater risk due to their system configurations and the type of hardware and applications used. To prevent data loss, backup your data beforehand.
Set a timeline: A Windows 11 upgrade is like any technology project, which means it should have a timeline. Creating one will help minimize the costs of your transition, identify project milestones to keep you on track, and ensure the upgrade is completed in a timely manner so as to not disrupt other projects in the pipeline.
Partner with an expert: As mentioned, upgrading to Windows 11 typically isn’t a smooth process for businesses. We recommend partnering with an expert for this reason. While consultants probably won’t be able to eliminate all potential issues, they will greatly reduce them, saving your business time and money. Contact Leverage IT if you’d like expert support.

Make the right choice for your business

By now, you should have a clearer idea of whether Windows 11 for business is right for you. You’ve weighed the reasons to upgrade or not, considered the Windows 11 requirements, and envisioned how you would transition to the new OS. If you’re still worried or unsure about how to move forward, Leverage IT is here to help.

Our Navigate – Business Application Selection and Implementation support service is designed for just this reason. Our technology experts will help you evaluate an upgrade, whether an operating system or business application, so you can make the best decision for your business. Contact us today to learn more.