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Windows XP – Countdown to Cutoff

An era is coming to an end! All support for Microsoft’s Windows XP will end April 8, 2014 – less than a year away. While the clock is ticking, many small businesses are really watching or listening to a time-bomb ticking. We can help you understand how it can affect your business and defuse an impending IT disaster.

What does this mean?

We’ve covered this ground before for many of our small business customers. Once Microsoft support ceases, there will be no more software updates and security patches. While XP will continue to work, computers on your network will be open to security weaknesses and vulnerable to cyber-attacks and malware. Running Windows XP and Office 2003 in your environment after the end of support will expose your company to risks.

Let’s face it. When Microsoft issued XP, it was great technology with really good security features. It became the operating system of choice for business-computing environments of all sizes. Because it was so widely used, hackers looked for all sorts of ways to breach its security systems and do their dirty work. Updates and security patches were designed to keep users one step ahead of the bad guys, and those who have been diligent about keeping their systems up to date have kept unwanted intruders out of their systems. But Microsoft and other software developers have pushed the envelope as far as they could. Three operating systems – Windows 7, which we like, and Windows Vista and Windows 8, which we never liked – have come on the market since then. XP and its users have had a good run. It’s time to move on.

Can I continue to use XP?

Yes, but why would you want to do that? With more malware than ever, unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to bigger security risks. Using XP will be like putting out a huge, brightly lit sign that says: “Hey, our system is wide open, and all our sensitive data is there for the taking.”

XP will become, by far, the most vulnerable platform ever when connecting to the internet.

Do I have to use Windows 8?

Pardon the play on words, but the window to get Windows 7 is closing. Some computer manufacturers will allow you to downgrade to Windows 7, but you are better off doing it before you start to use a new machine.

What should a business owner do?

Definitely start planning your exit strategy now. There are many things to consider with the expiration of Windows XP. Give us a call – 973-433-6676 – or drop us an email to discuss your best technology solutions and map out a plan to protect your IT investment and business operations.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.