Six Months to Migrate: The Dangers of an Unsupported Windows XP OS

Windows XP will be retired by Microsoft on April 8, 2014 and with it, support will end. We recommend a migration process for security and costs reasons.

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    As previously discussed, Windows XP will be retired by Microsoft on April 8, 2014, which is just over 6 months away. Microsoft will end support for the operating system meaning XP users “…will no longer receive critical security updates, leaving gaping holes for attackers to gain access to sensitive files.” According to Holly Stewart, a senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, “Businesses slow to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8 could be strapped with implementing costly security measures, and consumers could be exposing themselves to data thieves and other activity…”

    These security issues should be a concern to anyone, but the fact that “XP lived longer than any version of Windows ever…” is a major red flag. Developed over 12 years ago, the security features that were robust and as advanced for the time period have now become outdated due to “…rapid growth in online criminal activity.” Stewart continues, explaining that “The infection rate of Windows XP systems is also significantly higher…Windows XP users are six times more likely to be infected than Windows 8 users…”

    According to web traffic analysis, “…StatCounter estimates that XP still makes up 21 percent of the worldwide OS market. A recent study conducted by Dimensional Research found that nearly half of the 500 IT professionals it surveyed haven’t completed their migration off of Windows XP. About 16 percent haven’t started.” This is a major concern when factoring in the average enterprise deployment period of 18-32 months.

    Any organization that has not started, or is in the early stages of migration is well behind and may have to utilize extended third-party XP support. But Stewart warns that this “….should be considered an avenue of last resort to help bridge the gap during a migration process to a modern OS…” With only a few months until the support cycle ends, organizations that have not yet begun to migrate should factor in a strategy to extend past the end of support and dealing with expected malware infections.

    For all Windows XP users, a migration strategy needs to be a priority to minimize the potential costs through extended support, malware damage, and substantial antivirus protection. SBS Group can help plan and execute a migration strategy to minimize your risks. Contact us to get started on your Windows XP migration.