Operating system software

Windows XP will expose businesses to cyber risk from April 2014

Warwick Ashford

Businesses that fail to update their operating systems (OS) from Windows XP are putting themselves at increased risk of cyber attack, IT consultants have warned.

Microsoft is to stop support for XP on 8 April 2014, which means all businesses still running XP after that date will no longer receive crucial security updates.

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But many companies may have already left it too late, with only 364 days left before Microsoft withdraws support, according to software management firm Camwood.

Windows XP is currently found on 38.7% of PCs, according to NetMarketShare.

Research commissioned by Camwood has revealed that while 82% of UK companies using XP are aware of the deadline, only around 60% have started migrating off the XP OS.

This means four in 10 IT decisions-makers have yet to start migrating off XP, despite the deadline being just a year away.

Four in 10 IT decisions-makers have yet to start migrating off XP, despite the deadline being just a year away

Worse still, one in five IT professionals in the UK plan to keep using XP, despite the risks. 

Last-minute XP migration advice

Keep these five things in mind as Windows XP end of life approaches.

According to Camwood, fewer than half of all large organisations have started to migrate from XP to Windows 7.

Microsoft recommends that companies planning to move from XP to Windows 7 should prepare 18 to 32 months before the migration.

With less than year to go until support is withdrawn, any company that has not begun migrating may fail to complete the process in time.

Camwood warns that any company using XP that fails to complete its migration by the deadline will expose its business-critical data to corruption, infection, theft or exploitation.

The firm’s research revealed the main reasons companies have not switched to Windows 7 include cost and concern about the process.

“Quocirca’s advice is unequivocal – those on Windows XP have to look to migrate in the near future,” said Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom.

The business and IT need to work together to ensure that the right decision is made, he said.


Image: iStockphoto/Thinkstock


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