Following the end of support to businesses utilising Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, Gartner has published a range of advice to help companies maintain effective security of their data.
Avoiding the need for significant data recovery efforts following a breach in security should be a top priority for all firms and now Microsoft is no longer providing security updates for these XP systems it is something all users need to be acutely aware of.
As a result, Neil MacDonald, vice president and Gartner fellow, noted the main methods companies now need to employ to maintain security are to restrict access to network connectivity, as this is a primary area where attacks could come from.
IT departments should also implement an application control solution and memory protection to instigate a “lockdown posture” for all XP-powered hardware.
Meanwhile, administrative rights should be removed for all ongoing XP users and any systems that continue to be security-supported that do not utilise XP should be frequently updated and maintained as securely as possible.
Finally, it is imperative XP users now have an effective data recovery protocol in place in the event of a breach or loss of data, and this should include the ability to isolate individual computers or devices that have seen security breached.
Mr MacDonald stated: “XP can continue to be used with the risk managed to a tolerable level, without requiring the enterprise to pay Microsoft for expensive custom support while migrations are completed.
“While doing nothing is an option, we do not believe that most organisations (or their auditors) will find this level of risk acceptable.”
Carrying out a cost/benefit analysis should now also be on the cards for ongoing XP users, as updating to a newer and still-supported operating system should definitely be on the agenda for IT managers to consider.
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