April 8, 2014, a day that will live in operating system infamy. But here we are after it has passed and the computing world goes on. I’m sure that like most you’re thinking, Year 2000 all over again! Lots of talk and no real threat.
But the threat created by Microsoft’s decision to drop support of Windows XP is not and never should have been conveyed as the end of the world. Rather, it’s the beginning of a new one. “Once support ends and the OS is no longer patched, the PC is at risk,” said Tom Murphy, Microsoft’s director of communications for Windows.
But it’s not an immediate risk. It’s a gradual but growing risk that could lead to dire consequences in time. After all, it is estimated that 30% of businesses of all sizes still rely on Windows XP, and while that is expected to drop to 20% by year’s end, that is still too sizable a chunk of the business world for hackers to ignore.
Beyond the security dangers, businesses also sacrifice productivity. More and more, third-party software vendors will stop supporting XP versions of their applications, while fewer and fewer hardware devices—PCs, printers, peripherals—will work with it.
So what’s next? Well, replacement and upgrade of all Windows XP PCs is inevitable. But not all companies can afford it right now. Some will have to wait until they can afford it while others will have to do it in stages. Large organizations with deep pockets have the option of buying extended support from Microsoft, but this alternative is affordable and available only to a small number of companies. If you’re reading this you probably are not one of those chosen few. So what do you do in the meantime?
- First make sure that all the latest security patches released by Microsoft are up to date on your XP machines.
- Use only browsers that still support Windows XP, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox. Internet Explorer 8 is also ending its support cycle.
- Unnecessary and insecure browser add-ons, controls and plug-ins should be uninstalled.
- Removable storage devices are often a source of malware, and should be eliminated or limited to known sources.
- Limit access by XP machines to websites and applications to only those trusted and absolutely necessary. Forbid external access from home machines running Windows XP.
Remember Microsoft announced this move in 2007 so don’t expect much help from them. If you are in need of help protecting or upgrading these PCs, ASIS can fix PC problems, software issues, remove viruses, repair drivers, set up networks and deliver Intelligent Business Continuity. Our unique technology allows agents to remotely fix problems, install software, and manage servers, saving your organization valuable time and money. ASIS Proactive Services ensure your Servers, Desktops, Laptops and more are operating in peak condition. Scheduled weekly scans and maintenance tasks are built upon a set monthly fee so you know exactly what it costs to keep your technology performing for you.
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Call ASIS today at 732.549.6030 or contact us online to see if you qualify for a free no obligation consultation and see how we can help you meet your IT challenges in a fast paced and ever changing IT environment.