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Last April, the Windows XP End of Life Countdown began, following Microsoft’s announcement that support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014. In just 6 months, Microsoft will cease to provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance for systems running XP.
So if you are still running XP, what does this mean for your business?
1) Compromised Network Security
Windows XP is already insecure when compared to newer operating systems. According to a 2012 Microsoft report, malware infection rates on Windows XP were double that of Windows 7. This insecurity will increase exponentially when we reach the end of the Windows XP end of life countdown.
When support, updates and security patches stop being released, systems still running Windows XP will be sitting ducks. Your network will be an easy target for hackers, viruses, spyware and other malicious software. All your business’s data will be at risk.
Adding to these risks, many industry experts anticipate a major increase in cyber-attacks in April 2014. It is even believed that hackers are waiting to act on known operating system vulnerabilities until after April 2014, when users will be unsupported.
A cyber-attack could cost your business thousands of dollars. In a recent study by the internet analytics firm Neustar, the cost for businesses who experience a cyber-attack is between $10,000 and $100,000 dollars per hour!
2) Lack of Access to Business-Critical Desktop Applications
As Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP, it is expected that other companies will continue to do so as well. For example, updating to a newer version of Microsoft Office will require a compliant version of Windows. Most other software companies will have similar requirements.
As Jay Paulaus, director of small-business marketing for Microsoft, put it “When XP goes out of support, it’ll be a lot like driving a car that you can’t buy parts for anymore.” This is especially concerning when it comes to software security vendors like McAfee, Symantec and Kaspersky who will likely stop providing patches and support for their software.
Add this to the already increased security threats you face from running XP, and this could mean real problems for your business when the Windows XP end of life countdown ends.
3) Compliance Violations
Depending on your industry, continuing to run Windows XP when the end of life countdown ends could also result in compliance violations. For example, financial institutions running XP will be considered non-compliant with payment card industry (PCI) guidelines. It remains to be seen what other compliance issues will arise for other industries.
Additionally, the Data Protection Act requires businesses to use up to date software to protect information. Running Windows XP post-April 2014 could be considered a violation of this act.
How To Avoid These Risks for Your Business
The Windows XP end of life countdown is winding down quickly. For those of you still running XP, now is the time to start planning a new operating system deployment.
For many, this is also the perfect time for a PC refresh. In many cases, the cost of maintaining older PCs has a bigger impact on your overall budget than purchasing newer PCs would. In fact, a recent study by TechAisle shows that maintaining old PCs is 60% more expensive than purchasing new ones. If you are still running XP, it is likely your ageing PCs could be affecting your bottom line.
Whether you are considering a new operating system deployment, or a full PC refresh, DSR has the staff to support you through this transition. Contact a sales representative at (410) 579-4508, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free consultation.
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