XP is expiring… NOW!

On April 14th, just six days from now, Microsoft will end its support for the XP operating system.  XP is now over 12 years old but is still one of Microsoft’s most popular operating systems ever.  In fact, according to Net Applications figures available today, Windows XP is still running on more than 27% of all computers (2nd only to Windows 7).

 

OS usage 04-07-2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the hysteria?  Simple… once Microsoft stops putting out support updates for this workhorse of an OS, it becomes a ticking time bomb.  These updates include security and non-security hot fixes, as well as free and paid support options.  There will be no online technical content updates either.  With no more security updates, any exploits that the bad guys have been holding onto, or new exploits they find after the support date, become keys to enter your system at will.

 

There is some mixed messaging going on in the IT community… so let’s take a moment to clarify what is going on.  Microsoft will continue to patch XP if your organization has an active Premier Support agreement AND your company has purchased Custom Support.  This dual requirement is extremely costly.  It will be more cost effective for most organizations (outside the Fortune 500) to update hardware and install a new company-wide OS environment.

 

If you don’t belong to one of these rare organizations… you are truly out in the cold.  In fact, if you are currently running Windows XP, the infection rates by Operating System show it is merely a matter of when and not if.  The following graph represents the infection rate by operating system and service pack.  As you can see, the XP system has an infection rate of almost 25%.

 

infection rates by OS 04-07-2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hackers are often ahead of software developers in finding weak spots.  However, for the first time since its release, Microsoft will not be plugging those holes in the fence for XP users.

 

In a perfect world, your IT team has already dealt with this entire issue by upgrading your systems already.  However, if your organization has not dealt with this yet… YOU MUST BEGIN IMMEDIATELY.  Each day you allow your organization to use that XP system is another day you leave a crack into your environment.  That hacker might not find it today or tomorrow, but they will find it.  They don’t even do their own looking anymore.  Hackers simply release an internet-propagating worm that targets XP systems and let it crawl around the web looking for open machines.  Once it finds yours, it reports back to its master and the hacker enters as easily as opening that unlocked car door.  Goodbye radio… along with customers personal information, R&D files, bank account information, and anything else sitting on your computers.

 

You are running out of time… fast.  It is far past time to begin your internal discussions.  If you need the help, contact us.  As a Gold-certified, Managed Microsoft Partner, we intimately understand the danger your organization faces with this change.