If you are not aware, official support for Microsoft Windows XP operating system ends on April 8, 2014. Beyond this date, there will be no more security patches provided for this legacy system. On the same day support for Microsoft Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 will also cease to exist.
The tech media outlets and even mainstream media like the Washington Post have been diligent in publishing warnings and even horror stories about what will happen once support is withdrawn.
Regardless, it is certain that some people and even business owners who rely on the aging system will not make a point of migrating to a supported system in time. In fact in a poll published on the arstechnica.com website on 4 March, Windows XP still held 29% of the market share worldwide.
So the question is, “Are all the claims of “imminent danger” legitimate or is this all just hype?”
Ryan Rosencranz, Windows expert and owner of FullScope IT Inc, an established managed IT service provider headquartered in Annapolis MD had this to say.
“I truly believe that owners that do not migrate away from XP are taking a huge risk with their business.” Ryan said pointedly. “I am not saying that on 9 April all their systems are going to crash but this is an early Christmas for hackers and criminals looking to exploit unprotected systems. So in my opinion it is just a matter of time.”
Ryan went on to say, “And there is a huge compliance issue for organizations that must comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Business owners and healthcare professionals who fail to upgrade could find themselves in real legal trouble if a breach occurs and they are using an operating system on their computers that is no longer supported.”
In fact, the PCI and HIPAA standards state that organizations must use a “manufacturer supported operating system.” And it is just a sober reality that companies providing indemnity and liability insurance will most likely refuse to pay out if their clients are in breach of these compliance guidelines.
Rosencranz warns, “Even if a hacker does not steal any data they can take control of your network, crash your system at will, or inflict any number of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with. And don’t think being behind a firewall or having the latest and greatest anti-virus software installed will protect you because it simply is not the case.”
So the publicized danger surrounding XP’s end of life is NOT a bunch of hype. Business owners and healthcare professionals don’t only run the risk of their computer not working but of breaking the law and running the risk of financial ruin and unrecoverable damage to their reputation.
If you are still running XP, the clock is ticking and you need to strongly consider migrating to a supported operating system as soon as possible.
You can learn more about Ryan Rosencranz and FullScope IT Inc. at www.fullscopeit.com.