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Last remaining XP users a channel target

The recent ransomware attacks have exposed the dangers of using an unsupported operating system and the users still clinging onto Windows XP need to be targeted by the channel

The recent ransomware attacks of WannaCry and Petya have made it clear to those uses that continue to run Windows XP that they are incredibly vulnerable.

With Microsoft having withdrawn support for the OS back in April 2014 and not made patches available the platform has become a fairly easy target for criminals.

That target is not an insignificant one either with 52% of businesses worldwide running at least one instance of the operating system, which equates to 14% of computers worldwide.

Those numbers from Spiceworks will provide the channel with a reason to get out there and start talking to the users doggedly sticking with the outdated software.

But the conversation will not be a straight forward one, with Spiceworks finding that budget constraints and a lack of time are legitimate reasons behind user decisions to avoid migrating to a modern alternative.

“Many companies subscribe to the theory that if it’s ‘not broke, don’t fix it,’ especially those that aren’t prioritising IT. As a result, many IT departments lack the resources and budget needed to upgrade to newer operating systems like Windows 10. It takes time to upgrade all systems in an organisation and train end users on the new features and functionality. But now more than ever, it’s critical for IT professionals to make a business case for more resources," said Peter Tsai, senior technology analyst at Spiceworks.

"In fact, we discovered that 88% of IT professionals are concerned with running an operating system past its extended support date, which suggests that if IT departments can’t migrate now, many of them certainly want to. IT professionals are primarily concerned about no longer receiving security patches or bug fixes when running unsupported operating systems, but they’re also concerned their organisation will be more susceptible to cyberattacks and malware, which proved to be true as evidenced by the recent WannaCry and Petya attacks," he added.

Spiceworks numbers from March 2017 showed that Windows 10 adoption rates globally had hit 54% but there are still plenty of users happily chugging along with Windows 7. The firm expects that level to reach around 73% next month for the second anniversary of the launch.

At that point Microsoft will also reveal how successful it is being in its ambition to get the OS installed on one billion devices worldwide by next year.

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