Today marks the 12-month countdown until Microsoft Windows XP is officially retired worldwide and the vendor is warning that, from April 8 2014, businesses still using XP will be open to potential vulnerabilities and security risks.
According to the company, Windows XP still makes up almost 14 percent of operating systems on computers in New Zealand which is approximately half a million PCs.
“By far, the security risk is the most concerning for customers as there are more sophisticated forms of attack which can impact safety of personal information and cause business disruption and extra costs. Technology moves rapidly, and if we compare this to using an 11 year old mobile phone or camera then it puts it into stark context – these are considered relics. However, the risks and consequences of using an unsupported operating system are significantly greater than these two examples," says Microsoft NZ managing director Paul Muckleston.
“XP is three generations behind Microsoft’s most modern operating system so continuing to use PCs with XP is similar to driving a car without a seat belt or a motorbike without a helmet. The risks are real and the only way businesses and consumers can protect themselves is to upgrade," he adds.
The end-of-support means Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance for Windows XP. In addition to this, users will no longer receive security updates that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal personal information.
Candace Kinser, CEO of NZICT, has also highlighted the importance of businesses understanding the implications of not migrating from Windows XP. “Microsoft has made significant progress in improving security over the last 10 years through the Trustworthy Computing initiative. Businesses should consider the vulnerability of their data, and the risks associated with continuing to run an out of date, and soon to be unsupported operating system," she says.
To support the migration away from XP, Microsoft has announced the Windows Upgrade Centre website where businesses can get more information about this issue, learn from analysts and other customers in the region.