Office 2003, Windows XP end support
Windows is ending support on XP and Office 2003 on April 8th.
After 12 years, support for Windows XP will cease on April 8, 2014. What does this mean for your business if you have not migrated to a more current system?
Data Security Vulnerabilities
By maintaining Windows XP and Office 2003 operating systems beyond April 8th, users are essentially leaving their front door open for hackers to access confidential data and wreak havoc on network security. Upgrades and advances in programming are part of what keeps network security one step ahead of hackers. No patches or security updates will be available beyond this date. While the program will still function, security becomes the number one concern for businesses still working with it. Outdated software leads to a greater potential for data compromises, loss of data, or even downtime for a business. This will not happen overnight but it will leave your network vulnerable to hacker’s advances on the defenseless software when they hit the cyber world with their stockpile of malware and viruses. Because the end of life for XP is being so widely discussed, hackers have had ample opportunity to begin developing viruses to take advantage of businesses running behind on systems migration. According to the Security Intelligent Report, Microsoft says XP is not even currently as secure as Windows 7 due to its age.
Evolution & Compatibility
In addition to no more security updates, the end of life for these systems also means no more technical support. If you want to ride the wave as long as possible, Microsoft does offer Custom Support Agreement for up to 3 years past April 8th for determined XP users. Of course this will come with an additional cost of $200/PC for the first year with substantial increases annually thereafter. *Also, if you are pushing the envelope*- it is extremely important to configure your PC to run as a standard user (Called a limited User on Windows XP) instead of an administrator account. It would also be a good idea to stay off the internet whenever possible. Ultimately, you are playing Russian roulette with your mission critical data by waiting to make these upgrades; it is an inevitable change for your business. Sooner or later needed IT equipment will be more difficult to find for your business with critical technology updates happening every day.
Another primary concern for businesses working within certain IT regulations is compliancy. Service level agreements often stipulate updates and current operating systems as an ingredient to maintaining data protection and support. According to Microsoft, “any PC running Windows XP after April 8, 2014 should not be considered protected as there will be no security updates for the Windows XP operating system.” This can lead to monetary penalties in the event of a breach.
Look at your options for a new operating system if you have not done so already.
We recommend upgrading to Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Professional. Go with Windows 8 only if your software vendors support it. For forecasting & future planning purposes, if you’re looking to implement any new applications or software, be sure to consult an IT professional or the software vendor to confirm that the application you’re considering will integrate properly with your new OS before you purchase any software licenses.
Take a close look for any needed hardware upgrades and remember to upgrade everyone in your network including remote access employees.
Don’t forget: Support for Office 2003 is also ending April 8, 2014. Upgrade to Office Suite.
If you have questions or need more information about migrating your operating system, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-653-7726. We are a Microsoft Certified Business Partner who can help you better understand the process and what it means to your business.