As many of you are probably already aware, Microsoft will no longer be supporting Windows XP, Exchange 2003, or Office 2003 as of April 8th, 2014. Because of the risk associated with unsupported software, we want to start the dialogue now to help you make the proper replacements. Although this is not a situation where all of your systems will stop functioning on April 9th (i.e. a Y2K-scenario), I would like give you some reasons why it is important that we act quickly. Windows XP is 13 years old and does not take advantage of the development of new functionality. There are dozens of improvements to the Windows 7 operating system that make business sense. Here are just a few examples of productivity enhancements that our customers have experienced:
- Windows 7 can use the entire processor.
- Today’s processors are 40 times faster than they were 5 years ago.
- A PC that costs $800-$1000 and lasts 4-5 years works out to about $1/day toward the productivity of a process or employee.
- You can now put more than 3.25 GB of memory in a PC. There are many web apps today that will consume that much memory by themselves.
- Dual Screen functionality is cumbersome and, in some cases, impossible in XP. Windows 7 and later is designed with multiple monitors in mind.
- The print screen is a thing of the past and the new operating systems have a snipping tool that allows you to select anything on a screen, make notations on it and email it to someone – all in one easy process.
- The new operating systems also have many desktop improvements, including task bar pinning, start bar pinning, and Window auto-sizing to split screen.
- Compliancy is going to be difficult – if not impossible – with XP machines on your network. Whether you are responsible for PCI, HIPAA, or FINRA, having vulnerable machines on the same network will most likely result in a failure of compliance in the event of an audit.
According to Computerworld and other well known technology media sources, hackers are waiting to release exploits until after the support stops. This does not mean that your system will be attacked for the data that is on the machine, but more likely it will be used to attack others from your unpatched system. Courts are starting to hold companies responsible for the security of their network and the impact that it has on others. This could be a costly fight, even if the courts rule in your favor.
As a result of Microsoft’s announcement, other software companies are terminating support of their software if it is used on an XP machine. Many software vendors have already told us that they cannot help with an issue because their software is not supported on XP. After April 8th, we expect that close to 100% of software vendors will give us this same response.
Most cloud applications now require Internet Explorer 9 or later. After April 2014, most – if not all – companies will stop supporting IE 8, which is the latest browser that can be installed on XP.
Ready to Make a Change? We are prepared to assist you with the upgrades of any systems still running Windows XP, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003. In the majority of cases, this will mean replacing the PC entirely. Even though the reality of this is more than six months away, we are anticipating that there will be hardware shortages as we get closer to April – causing the lead times and the cost of PCs to increase. The more we are able to plan ahead, the more effectively we will be able to serve you. Kind Regards, Bo Jakins
BridgeNet Technology Consultants, LLC