Has Not Left The Building!
June 1, 2014
As we all know by now, or we should know, support for Windows XP was sunset on April 8, 2014. After a thirteen year run Microsoft pulled the plug on its venerable operating system (OS). End of support means there will be no updates or technical assistance from Microsoft. Most importantly this means no security updates to protect business resources from viruses, spyware or malware.
Well this seems like a big deal and an even bigger security concern. So, where are we today? The numbers are a little surprising, as the data below shows wide use of Windows XP as of today. These are the percentages for Windows XP devices in use on June 1, 2014 and are provided by StatCounter:
North America 12.12%
South America 16.75%
Almost two months after support was sunset Windows XP is still widely used. Many small businesses and individuals struggle with the decision to upgrade or are not even sure if it’s necessary. Network indicators and surveys suggest the percentages for small businesses are much higher. Why? Well there are many reasons why the OS is still in wide use and here are a few of them:
1. Procrastination: not a high priority or a headache to avoid
2. Expense: a new OS that will most likely require new hardware, applications and training
3. Windows XP works and I’d rather worry about this issue later
4. I have applications not compatible with Windows 7 or 8
5. I am using a standalone device not connected to a network or the internet
6. I don’t know that there are still Windows XP devices in my business
Certain industry verticals are more at risk than others, like the aforementioned small businesses, that are operating with tight budgets and time and/or resource constraints. In the healthcare industry, hospital patient systems and billing and invoicing systems are heavily reliant on Windows XP. This OS vulnerability is a major concern for HIPAA compliance. Another vertical at high risk is banking as most ATMs still operate on Windows XP.
If you own a small business or you are a sole proprietor and are still using Windows XP here are a few items to think about:
1. Can you upgrade yourself at a reasonable cost?
2. Do you have any compatibility issues?
3. Do you have any regulatory or compliance issues?
4. Other than getting off of XP, what are the other benefits of upgrading?
5. Do you have a plan to fully leverage and deploy any new technology you purchase?
6. Do you know exactly what you need and what it should cost?
If you need help answering any of the above the best advice is to contact a trusted IT professional. It’s usually the smartest and cheapest way to solve your IT problems – getting it right the first time. A business’ IT infrastructure should enable efficient operations, lower operating costs and increase earnings. Your IT infrastructure should not be a time-consuming annoyance or distraction from your success. A trusted IT & Managed Services Provider should be one of your most important and trusted vendors.