Protect your business: what to do once support for Windows XP ends

Posted: January 20, 2014 in Articles
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Windows XPAs you may have already heard, support for Windows XP is to cease on 8 April 2014 – and if your business has yet to begin its migration, then it’s imperative to act now.

After serving 13 years as one of the world’s most long-standing operating systems, Microsoft will no longer be releasing any patches or updates for XP, meaning businesses have two choices: and that is to either continue using an unprotected Windows OS or to undergo an upgrade.

Lack of support means lack of protection

With no means of defence for your data, this puts your company in a vulnerable position. Do you really want to put both your organisation’s and customers’ sensitive information in the hands of a malicious hacker? Whilst upgrading your system may be costly, in the short-term such an investment is worth paying for – compared to the long-term damage inflicted by a critical malware attack.

No support for Windows XP users means that cybercriminals will be safe in the knowledge that any flaws will be unpatched, rendering users helpless against potential attacks unless they upgrade to a newer OS. Additionally, there’s the major issue of compliance – with retailers at huge risk for failing to be compliant to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI has stated that any business running an OS no longer supported by the vendor is violating the standard; unless the necessary compensating controls – such as whitelisting – are implemented in order to mitigate any risks.

Better to be safe than sorry

It’s predicted that come this impending deadline, attacks are to surge significantly – greatly amplifying the need to migrate towards an OS appropriate for your business structure. Windows 7 offers a familiar format that is not only affordable but is also well-established amongst professionals, yet the downside is that due to its age (serving individuals and companies alike for more than four years) any online support will end in January 2015; while extended support complete with security fixes will cease in 2010.

Meanwhile fans of Windows 8.1 can benefit from standard support lasting right through to 2018 while extended support will end in 2023, however, it may require getting used to for traditionalists accustomed to the ‘classic’ Windows interface. The best way to determine which OS is relevant for your business is by identifying the size of your organisation and any specific services offered, then listing all installed applications on your machines and seeing which operating system provides the most support for your programs.

Positive performance

Another advantage to upgrading means better performance, quicker application launches and faster system boots. This smoother functionality allows employees to be more productive, meaning your business can reach its full potential – however, these advantages can only be harnessed once a migration has been undertaken. With April only a few months away, it’s recommended to research your options; as a migration can be both time-consuming and hugely complex – so make a decision as soon as possible in order to get the very best supported solution for your organisation.

Author BIO:

Louise Clarke is a freelance writer that has an interest in technology she is currently curating articles with – http://www.businessdirect.bt.com/theblog/

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