On April 8 2014, Microsoft ended its support for Windows XP, exposing those who still use it to growing security risks and higher costs for any additional professional support. This is not only an issue for individual consumers but more so for businesses still running Windows XP.
Concerns for businesses
The risk of security breaches on systems running Windows XP beyond April 2014 is high. When support ends, Gartner estimates that 20-25% of enterprise systems will still run XP and that one third of enterprises will have more than 10 percent of their systems remaining on XP.
Even in organisations without Windows XP, a user that puts an unpatched Windows XP machine on the network can introduce problems.
According to Gartner, this is what companies who are still running Windows XP should do to address these concerns.
- Companies should work on (if they haven’t already) plan to get rid of it ASAP.
- Reduce user rights on the machines, restrict the PC to run only “known good” applications, and minimize web browsing and email use on the PCs.
- Move critical applications and users to server-based computing. Where users or applications can’t be moved for regular use due to licensing, cost, or capacity issues, have the applications installed for server access in case of emergency.
For a company getting off Windows XP, what are the key decisions and problems that must be addressed before beginning a migration to a later version of Windows or another OS?
- While most applications now support Windows 7, it’s possible an organisation has very old applications or versions that don’t. Application testing is of paramount concern.
- Organisations need to decide whether to deploy Windows 7 or Windows 8. A migration to Windows 7 will likely be faster, but one to Windows 8 will have more longevity – Windows 7 support ends in January 2020, less than 6 years away, and organisations that are so late on Windows XP should not get into the same situation with end of Windows 7 support. Check out our article on Windows 8 here and find out how it can help your business.
- For many, the best alternative would be to deploy Windows 7 for the most critical users and applications now and working to be able to start deploying Windows 8 starting early in 2015.
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If you feel like you need help or advice with your company’s operating systems, feel free to call us today on (09) 526-1800 or send us an email at email@example.com.