With Microsoft ending support for XP SP3 and Office 2003 software, upgrading your operating system is necessary for network security.
On April 8, 2014, support for Microsoft’s XP SP3 operating system and Microsoft Office 2003 will officially be terminated. Microsoft ending support for the aging operating system and Office software is expected to affect millions of consumer and enterprise users worldwide. In order to remain protected and keep your business running effectively, migration to a new operating system or new computers is necessary.
Why Are Updates Important?
If a hacker finds a way to access an operating system and influences it do something it is not supposed to do, this is called an exploit. Microsoft researches exploits as they are discovered and writes code to correct them. They distribute this code as a security update, which closes the doors on the hacker. Additionally, Microsoft also researches bugs or running errors in their software and offers regular software updates called patches to address these errors. This means that in April when support for XP and Office 2003 ends, Microsoft will no longer deploy new security or software updates. If a hacker discovers a new exploit, it will remain unpatched indefinitely, leaving the system and your data vulnerable.
Are Small Businesses at Risk?
Any computer running Windows XP will be at risk after April 8, 2014. Microsoft will discontinue development and deployment of updates, leaving new exploits unpatched and systems vulnerable. As time goes on and more exploits are discovered, it will become increasingly difficult to ensure your computer is safe and your data is protected. Scale IT can assess your network and diagnose the machines that are at risk.
Is Antivirus Software Enough?
In short, the answer is no. Antivirus software prevents viruses and malware from infecting your computer. Security patches fix holes in the actual operating system for your computer. Antivirus software alone will not be sufficient to protect your system once security updates are discontinued.
Will All of my Applications Run on Windows 7 or 8?
Many commercial applications written for Windows XP SP3 have already been updated and certified compatible with Windows 7. However, if your business is running custom applications, the answer may not be so straight forward. There are several options available, such as application virtualization, that the managed services team at Scale IT can assist you with in your migration.
How Can I Protect My Business?
According to Microsoft, the easiest and most effective way to protect your computer is to upgrade to a newer, more secure operating system such as Windows 7 or 8.1. Upgrading your software will also help your business become more efficient, as the latest technology Microsoft offers includes virtualization and cloud management. Older computers may not have the supported hardware so it is advised to download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant. This program will test your system and tell you if it’s compatible.
Windows XP SP3 has been Microsoft’s most successful operating system to date. However, the face of technology has changed dramatically since its release over 12 years ago. To ensure your business and critical applications stay available and secure, you need to upgrade before an unpatched machine or security breach compromises your business or data. Scale IT can assist you with identifying and formulating an efficient upgrade program to ensure your business stays functioning and secure.
Before Microsoft support ends for XP SP3 and Office 2003 in April, contact Scale or request a free network assessment from the managed IT services team.
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