As discussed in my recent posts here and here, you are likely aware that Microsoft will no longer be offering any updates, security patches or support for it’s Windows XP operating system after April 8, 2014.
We are less than 90 days (3 months) away from this deadline.
Here’s a scenario: Today, your Windows XP computers are running fine, and after April 8th and nothing changes. But for how long? After Microsoft’s April cutoff, Windows XP computers may be vulnerable to exploits, viruses and malware due to Zero-day attacks. These potential threats may sit dormant today, waiting to strike after official security updates, patches and fixes are no longer offered.
What will you do if your systems are attacked and can no longer be protected or repaired? Can you afford to have your computers down for a day, a week or even longer?
Microsoft recently made an announcement pledging at the 11th hour to continue providing anti-malware and anti-virus signature updates to their suite of Security Tools through July 2015. However, this still leaves systems vulnerable to attack because core security patches and system updates will cease to exist after April 8, 2014.
The fear and reality is that after April 8, it will be ‘open-season’ on any un-patched or unprotected computers. Time, money and other resources will be required to deal with downtime, possible data loss and breaches that far exceed the cost of preventative measures and maintenance that can still be taken today.
What about hardware compatibility after April 8th?
Security, malware and virus threats aside, most people assume it will be business as usual for Windows XP machines. Unfortunately new devices such as printers, scanners and other peripherals may no longer work with Windows XP in the near future as hardware manufacturers phase out support for obsolete operating systems such as Windows XP.
By now, you may be asking, is there a silver lining in all of this? The good news is that there is still ample time to take action by upgrading or replacing any older Windows XP computers and ensuring all other computers are fully up to date with their latest operating system and antivirus updates. This will help to ensure your organization and employees don’t experience any interruptions from present or future security risks.
Are there remedies for a quick and smooth transition?
Remedies vary based on the needs of each business. One popular solution is to upgrade to a newer, fully supported up-to-date operating system like Windows 7 or 8. It is also an excellent opportunity to replace your computer with hardware that is pre-loaded with a new version of Windows 7 or 8 and includes a manufacturers warranty.
At Manawa Networks, we generally view the lifecycle of a desktop PC to be between 3-5 years depending on its specifications, application along with your budget and performance requirements. Many business-class computers come standard with 3 year warranties and often provide next-business-day service direct from the manufacturer if any hardware component fails. Similar to owning and maintaining your car, you are responsible for doing regular maintenance. For example, a computer tune-up may involve doing things like performing periodic security updates, disk scans, defragmenting and purging of temporary files.
Without this, system performance, reliability and speed may suffer, leading to decreased productivity and having a direct impact on your bottom line.
What’s the biggest take away here?
90 days is more than enough time to do something but not enough time to do nothing. What is one thing you can do today, so your technology is ticking as fast and efficiently as possible?
If you are concerned that your systems may be vulnerable after April 2014, or would like a 1st, 2nd or even a 3rd opinion about the health of your computer and network environment, contact us today for a free on-site IT assessment. Working together, we can ensure that your technology keeps performing and running smoothly and securely through April 2014 and beyond.
Image courtesy of adesigna