Businesses still employing Microsoft Windows XP as their main operating system (OS) for internal IT need to be aware that support for the OS is ending on April 8th, meaning firms could be opening themselves up to significant risk if they do not update their systems.
With the outdated OS comes the risk of cybercriminals and hackers being more easily able to penetrate a company’s defences and this could lead to significant downtime, as well as the potential need for data recovery efforts and even lost information.
A joint blog post from Gartner analysts Rob van der Meulen and Janessa Rivera has highlighted some of the biggest risks for firms that still use XP, as well as the measures they should now be putting in place to prevent damage through a lack of updates for IT departments in the coming months.
Both Mr van der Meulen and Ms Rivera stated there is a significant security risk for ongoing XP users beyond April 2014 and the OS could even present a risk to businesses utilising later systems if a member of staff connects an XP device to their network in future months.
It is therefore essential that companies take the migration of their systems to supported OS seriously, with current XP users deciding whether a shift to Windows 7 or Windows 8 will be the most prudent move for them.
“A migration to Windows 7 will likely be faster, but one to Windows 8 will have more longevity – Windows 7 support ends in January 2020, less than 6 years away, and organisations that are so late on Windows XP should not get into the same situation with end of Windows 7 support,” the Gartner pair stated.
“For many, the best alternative would be to deploy Windows 7 for the most critical users and applications now and working to be able to start deploying Windows 8 starting early in 2015.”
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