Windows XP - Is it the Ticking Time Bomb for SMEs?

20th February 2014

From 8th April 2014 Microsoft is removing technical support for some of their most popular but oldest products such as Windows XP operating system used for Workstations (desktops and laptops), Office 2003 and Windows Small Business Server (SBS) 2003.

This will impact hundreds of businesses in our region that have not already migrated to the newer Microsoft products such as Windows 7/8, Office 2010/2013 and newer server applications. Richard Thompson, Sales Director of locally based IT company, Central Technology says; 'It's a genuine cause for concern as many businesses still haven't moved to newer operating systems and time is running out to make the upgrade and switch over. Not moving will leave IT infrastructure vulnerable to cyber-attack, as from April Microsoft will not be sending out new security updates for the affected products. We still believe that hundreds of businesses in the region have not yet addressed this issue and their whole IT infrastructure is at risk. For some they will only realise the real cost to their business when it is too late to do anything about it.' The withdrawal of support has been well publicised for over five years now however with the cost of upgrading IT infrastructure beyond the reach for some businesses many have chosen to ignore rather than address in the hope that Windows would not actually go through with the withdrawal of technical support and security updates for such a popular product used by millions despite it being over 12 years old. Richard continues; 'we are being contacted almost daily by company's asking us what they should do and have they left it too late. The answer is no, not yet, there is still time. As to what a company should do, this will vary from company to company and will largely depend on how a businesses' IT infrastructure is being run, what operating systems are being used and what is required in the future. However, for most businesses the options will be either to totally replace a server or pcs, move data and applications to the cloud or for some businesses a hybrid solution might be best, with partial movement of certain applications such as email to the cloud and keeping some services with an onsite server.' As thousands of computer viruses are created daily, only time will tell as to how much havoc will be caused in the coming months. Avoidance will not be the best IT strategy to combat online cyber-attacks, address the issues in hand today whilst there is still time. If you think that your businesses is affected by these changes, or are unsure if they apply to any of your IT infrastructure and would like more information on how best to address this please contact Richard Thompson at Central Technology for advice.

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