A thought provoking article by Adrian Weckler on Windows XP caught our attention in last week’s Sunday Independent. It listed the five most common excuses for not upgrading from Windows XP. Upon speaking with various Irish organisations Adrian found a common thread of excuses including ‘Ah Microsoft will never adhere to that’ and ‘Can’t we just update our anti-virus software?’ to ‘We’ve put off upgrading our systems until next year.’

Support really is ending.

That’s all well and good, but the cold hard truth of the matter is that at the end of the day Microsoft is stopping support of Windows XP on April 8th, and that’s not going to change. It’s happening regardless of whether you upgrade or not, and you will be at risk if you don’t. You may decide to take that chance and make a gamble, but you are essentially putting the security of your business in jeopardy.

“It won’t happen to us.”
Smaller organisations may not take the possibility of threat as  a serious one, thinking they have less chance of being attacked compared to a larger counterpart. But think of it this way; hackers know that smaller businesses with smaller budgets are more likely to have pushed back the upgrade, thus being a prime target for an attempted security breach.

The cost of unexpected downtime.
Last year we hosted an event in conjunction with Dell on Business Continuity and recovery after a disaster – such a disaster as this could potentially result in unexpected downtime, undoubtedly losing you money, affecting productivity and has the potential to put you out of business if the breach is really severe. How much money could it lose you? Our ‘Cost of Downtime Calculator’ will give you a rough estimate of the potential loss in revenue you could face. Now ask yourself – is it worth the risk?

Steps you can take before the deadline.
While the deadline is fast approaching – there is still time there to work on mitigating the risk. The first step should be talking to your IT provider or the person responsible for managing your IT environment to see if there are XP machines running in your environment.  They should be able to quickly pull a report of all the machines in your environment running on the XP operating system, giving you an overall picture of what needs to be upgraded, and help you project the costs. If cost is an issue, many IT organisations have financing options available to help spread the cost of the upgrade. They will also be able to find the most competitively priced machine to suit your budget and will work towards making the transition as smooth as possible.

Don’t forget about software.
For more complicated upgrades where software is in place that only works with XP you need to talk to the company that sold you the software, as they are likely to have new versions that you can purchase or upgrade free of charge. With bespoke software that was specifically made for your business the transition is more difficult – it is not a matter of simply contacting your provider for an upgrade. The piece of software you have may only work correctly on XP, meaning you may need to rebuild the software to work on a supported OS. We advise that you contact your software provider to discuss your options.

All in all, you need to be aware and informed of the implications of not making the switch.  Organisations can make the choice not to upgrade but in consequence they have to take responsibility for potentially putting their business in the firing line of opportunistic hackers.

ActionPoint provide IT and Software Development services to a range of clients across a variety of sectors. If you have concerns about making the switch from XP, be it from a hardware or software perspective –  talk to us today to see how we can help make the transition a smooth one. Call 1850 228 466 today.

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