After nearly 14 years of service (and three replacement operating system releases), Microsoft is finally pulling the plug on Windows XP. From April 8th Microsoft will no longer offer support for the operating system, leaving millions of businesses across the world at risk of significant risk of data loss or cybercrime.
You probably never deal directly with Microsoft, so why does this announcement affect you? Because once the "extended support" period ends on April 8th, Microsoft will no longer provide any updates or security patches for Windows XP. The operating system will be officially retired and no further work will be done to secure or improve it.
With less than three weeks until XP becomes unsupported, businesses have a very narrow window of opportunity to get their affairs in order. Here are the steps you need to take as a matter of urgency.
1. Get your machines patched
Microsoft has been releasing service packs, updates and patches for years now and it is critical that all of your business (and home) machines are fully up-to-date. Use the Windows Update tool to get your machines fully patched and up to date, to make sure you get the benefits of the updates available.
2. Get your antivirus in order
The end of support means that security holes in Windows XP will not be patched after April 8th. Security experts believe hackers and virus writers will then deliberately target Windows XP machines because they are more vulnerable to attack. Ensure you have a reputable antivirus solution installed and running on all of your computers now. Make sure that your computers are set to collect antivirus updates automatically to reduce the chance of acquiring a malware infection in between software upgrades.
3. Plan to upgrade
Sticking with XP after April 8th is not a sensible proposition because it places your corporate data in danger of loss, theft or corruption - could your business really afford the downtime? Instead you need to begin working on their plans to upgrade to a new version of Windows as soon as possible. In many cases this will mean upgrading computer hardware to fully support the resource demands of Windows 8.1.
Obviously a company-wide system upgrade may involve significant capital expenditure, but it is important to get planning and budget sorted out as quickly as possible. The new features of Windows 8.1 provide additional security for company data, along with tools to improve productivity, helping to repay some of the investment in upgrading.
These three steps should help keep any XP computers you have running relatively smoothly for now. You must remember that these guidelines are just a temporary measure, buying you some time until an upgrade to a new version of Windows can be performed.
If you need help getting your legacy Windows XP PCs into shape before April 8th, or would like to discuss the upgrade options available, give the Get Support IT Services team a call today on 01865 594000, drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form below.