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A New Dawn

9 April 2014


Microsoft released its final batch of security patches for Windows XP (and Office 2003) on April 8, leaving those still running this operating system without potentially critical security updates. It is amazing to think how many people are still using this given three years usually signals technological obsolescence in this highly competitive IT environment.

It is estimated that almost one in five PCs worldwide still runs XP. Whilst Windows XP will not suddenly stop working, those who continue to use the operating system will be much more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Microsoft will no longer issue patches for discovered vulnerabilities, meaning those still using Windows XP will be prone to such attack.

While attacks on Windows XP decreased after Windows 7 began rolling out in 2009, they have resurged in recent months, as the deadline for XP support has approached. There is concern that some attackers have been holding back exploits, so they can unleash them after Microsoft has stopped producing security updates.

The end of Windows XP support is probably less of an issue for consumers than it is for businesses. It is estimated that nearly 80% of organisations are still running Windows XP somewhere in their IT estate. Microsoft has recognised this and has offered to provide special custom support for Windows XP after 8 April at a cost of $200 per device, which doubles to $400 per device after 12 months, and then doubles again to $800 the following year.

For small and medium enterprises, you might as well go and buy new hardware with pre-installed Windows 8.1 for a similar price. And that’s exactly what retail sellers want you to do. Yes, there will be logistical problems transferring programs etc. but that’s going to happen anyway.

There are advantages to upgrading. Here at SumProduct, we may concentrate on Excel: we have highlighted in our News articles and newsletters what some of the cool new features are. It might be time to jump onto Office 2013 or Office 365 while you’re at it…

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