Windows XP End of Life

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Save Me From XP! What you need to know…

Expect a call from your IT Provider in Penticton, Kelowna or Vernon in regards to this end of life notice

As you may have heard, the last official date that Microsoft will support the Windows XP Operating System (or OS) will be April 8, 2014. This is known as the “end of life” date for Windows XP. While your staff can still use Windows XP, Microsoft is urging business decision makers and IT professionals to move away from the 13 year old OS. Still have staff using Windows XP? Here are some things you need to know:

There are two main reasons why removing Windows XP from your computers will likely make business sense:

  • There will NO LONGER BE SUPPORT OF ANY KIND from Microsoft on anything Windows XP related. That means you, your IT support, your expensive printers, and your even more expensive software are really on their own if and when something goes wrong!
  • There will be NO PATCHES and NO UPDATES to the OS, so if you are using Windows XP you will be open to security risks. If these risks are exploited (viruses, spyware, etc.) it can cost you serious money and lengthy downtime!

There are other risks to continuing using Windows XP after April 8th. They include:

  • Microsoft will not be supporting the OS, and companies that make software for Windows XP (like QuickBooks and Sage) will follow suit. Issue with your accounting software? You’re out of luck! Need a custom report written in your CRM? No way! Software companies will have no reason to develop or support their applications on Windows XP. In addition, most third party software vendors will no longer test their software against Windows XP, so there will be no guarantees that they will work.
  • Security software vendors (like Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky) will stop updating, patching and supporting the Windows XP versions of their software. This will cripple your security and leave you totally vulnerable to viruses, hackers, and all other kinds of nasty things online. Microsoft has stressed that the effectiveness of antivirus and antimalware on Windows XP will be very limited.
  • If your business is regulated by PCI or other industry standards you will likely become Non-Compliant, which can have consequences of suspension of licenses, suspension of services and fines.
  • Windows XP should no longer be used with email due to the security threats.

The bottom line is that continuing to use Windows XP can and will put your business at risk!

So, what can you do?? How do you protect your valuable IT resources, your data, and your staff?? Now that’s a really good question! The answer will be different for every business, and will depend on your IT strategy and roadmap. The move to Windows 7 (or 8 if you’re feeling adventurous!) is critical, but should you use existing hardware or new PCs?? What about tablets, or a bring your own device (BYOD) policy?? I think as a business owner, as always, you will have to weigh the risks vs. the costs.

  • Step #1 will be to identify how many pc's you have in your organization running Windows XP.
  • Step #2 Come up with a schedule on when and how to replace/upgrade them.

I think we can all agree that they will need to be changed out (or have the operating system replaced), but do they have to be done by April? Well if if the pc is in the lunch room for staff use probably not, however, if it is the one your book keeper uses for Simply Accounting, I don't know that I would risk it!

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