IMPORTANT! Windows XP End-of-Life!

If you are still using computers that run Windows XP, the information in this blog very important to you and your business. Please take a few minutes to read it.

You may or may not be aware of this, but Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on 8th April this year – less than a week from now!

What does this really mean? And what effect will it have on your business?

Windows XP will continue to work

Some people think that Windows XP system are just going to stop working on April 8th – that’s not true. All your existing software will continue to work just as it did before. Your Windows XP computers won’t be disabled or stop booting up. So there ‘s no need to worry on that score.

Serious Security Issues

Microsoft will no longer look for, or  fix security problems in Windows XP. This means that hackers will have a free-reign to exploit Windows XP security bugs. Because the hackers (the folks who write viruses and malware) have known for some time that Microsoft will no longer fix security bugs, it is very likely that the hackers have been ‘saving up’ new, unknown security holes and are just waiting to unleash them, knowing that Microsoft will never fix them. Many security experts expect to see an increase in new security attacks on Windows XP systems soon after the 8th April deadline passes.

All this means that ANY system you have that is running Windows XP is very vulnerable to attack, and once a hacker has got access to one system in your network, it is much easier for them to infiltrate your other systems.

What about anti-virus and anti-malware software?

There is some good news on this front: most anti-virus/security software providers will continue to support their products on Windows XP for the time being. For details take a look at this article: http://www.av-test.org/en/news/news-single-view/artikel/the-end-is-nigh-for-windows-xp-these-anti-virus-software-products-will-continue-to-protect-xp-after/

However, even with security software like firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software, your Windows XP systems are exposed and vulnerable. There can be no guarantee that the security software providers can protect against bug in the operating system itself. In other words, your Windows XP systems are a serious exposure of your business, and your business’s and clients’ data.

What should I do?

The course of action you take varies depending on your particular circumstances and requirements. At a bare minimum you should make sure you:

  • Apply all available updates (from Microsoft and your other software providers) to your XP systems
  • Remove Java (unless you absolutely need to use it)
  • Do not use Internet Explorer as your web browser – instead use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. The most recent version of Internet Explorer that works on Windows XP is Internet Explorer 8 – and that is already very old and will no longer receive security patches

If you still have Windows XP systems, please contact us to discuss your options. As an IT Support company we are always here to help our customers, and in this particular case we really cannot overstate how important it is to either migrate away from Windows XP, or take some serious steps to ensure the integrity of your remaining Windows XP systems.

Call us and we will be happy to discuss options with you, and give you advice on what you can do to minimise the impact of the Windows XP end-of-life deadline.