By the DynaSis Team
After 12 years, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Once support ends, Microsoft will issue no further security updates and will not offer any technical support for the Windows XP operating system (OS). Although Managed IT Services firms like DynaSis can continue supporting Windows XP, they will not be able to provide the same level of protection for their customers that they offered in the past. They won’t be able to apply anymore patches or fixes, because there will not be any.
Malware experts predict that Windows XP will become a prime target for cybercriminals, and having even one Windows XP system in a company’s network will put the entire firm’s IT infrastructure – and its intellectual assets - at risk.
If your company is still running Windows XP on some of its desktops, you are not alone. Estimates for the number of companies running the OS range from 30% to as high as 45%. Last year, one survey found that 20% of companies planned to continue running Windows XP after its “sunset” date of April 8, 2014. We urge all companies – our customers and others – not to take this dangerous path.
Consider Your Options
The most current version of Windows is Windows 8.1, and it offers numerous benefits for corporate users, including a common interface across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Windows 8.1, while powerful, works differently from Windows XP, Vista and 7 and does require a learning curve. (We’ll talk about this in our next blog.)
For companies that want a more traditional Windows experience, Windows 7 is a stable, well-respected OS with an interface very similar to that of Windows XP. It is still available for purchase both as software and preinstalled on business machines. In fact, Microsoft recently announced that although it would stop selling Windows 7 for pre-installation on “home” computers in October 2014, it did not have any current plans to stop selling Windows 7 for business machines.
Migrating to a modern OS will give companies dramatically enhanced security, increased productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership. If that’s not enough to persuade you, consider this. Microsoft quit selling retail copies of Windows 7 (both home and professional versions) On October 31, 2013. However, a number of retail outlets are still selling it, so it is currently an option for companies that are hesitant to move to Windows 8 due to the learning curve or any other reason.
Companies that do not upgrade now, and wait to end their usage of Windows XP until their systems are compromised or obsolete, may be forced to migrate all their users to Windows 8.1 or it successor at once, with no time for their users to become accustomed to the differences in this intriguing OS.
Our virtual CIOs can evaluate your company’s needs and determine which users would be better suited to Windows 7 and which would benefit from the jump straight to Windows 8.1. We can also perform a network assessment, with a complete software inventory, to identify and let you address every instance of Windows XP running on your network. To learn more, fill out our inquiry form or give us a call.