Microsoft is cancelling all support and security updates for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Businesses still operating on Windows XP are have to migrate off the 12 year old operating system as experts warn that a tsunami of malware attacks is expected. The Windows XP user base has declined drastically since early 2013 as users upgrade to Windows 7 or 8. But there are still many business out there that have not made the switch. Some are in denial about the urgent need to upgrade. They believe that it is unreasonable to make a costly change if there system is still working in spite of all the warnings. Others are sticking with Windows XP because they need it to run business critical applications. For those that need Windows XP to run critical programs you may have looked into alternate software or the cost to rewrite the program. These solutions are extremely costly! Custom software is expensive and the cost of training your employees to use new software is pricey and labor intensive. But thankfully there is another option—virtualization software.
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If you are one of the millions of users still running Windows XP, you will want to make a change before Microsoft ends all support for XP on April 8, 2014. At this time experts are predicting a huge surge of malware attacks targeting Windows XP users. The first step in planning your process for migrating off Windows XP is to decide which new operating system you will choose. My previous blog post, Choosing A New Operating System, compares the most popular operating systems for small businesses. However it is important to note that Windows XP is a twelve year old operating system and many of the computers running XP will be unable to handle both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
As Windows XP support dies on April 8, 2014 all XP users will be incredibly vulnerable to malware and cyber-thieves. It is imperative that business make the transition off of XP to thwart attacks that could cost them considerable amounts of time and money to fix. What are your options? If you are still running Windows XP you may want to consider buying new hardware. This can be extremely costly but may be the best option. New hardware will certainly perform better than the machines you are currently using. It is important to note that many older machines will not be capable of running the newer operating systems and they will have to be replaced.
At the beginning of 2013, nearly 35 percent of all enterprise users were still running Windows XP operating system. As of January 2014, this has dropped to just 15 percent according to Qualys of Redwood Shores, who predicts that come April less than 7 percent of enterprise users will be running Windows XP. The massive movement to Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is occurring as businesses and individuals prepare for the end of all Microsoft support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. After this deadline all users still running XP will be extremely vulnerable to malware attacks and cyber-thieves. Who is still using Windows XP?
Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014 and expects security threats to be rampant for users of the 12 year old operating system. At the time of this writing, Microsoft is still supporting Windows XP but has reported that the users are much more vulnerable to malware even though Windows 8 encounters the same amount of malware. The security features built into Windows XP over a decade ago are no longer effective at mitigating modern day attacks. The chart below was published by Microsoft in the final quarter of 2012 and shows how high these malware infection rates are for today’s XP users.
Microsoft has warned that users of their 12 year old operating system, Windows XP, are in grave danger of cyber-attacks if they do not move to a newer operating system by April 8, 2014. If you are still one of the millions of people using Windows XP you may be thinking to yourself “What’s the rush?” You may be perfectly happy with the old operating system but unfortunately the time has come that you should change.
For a more cost-efficient, mobile, and manageable IT infrastructure, businesses should switch to a Hosted Desktop environment. Companies with Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) don’t need any expensive on-site IT hardware such as servers, storage devices, or advanced networking equipment. On-site IT personnel aren’t required with Hosted Desktops, either. The hardware, personnel, and Hosted Desktops will all be furnished and maintained by the businesses’ Hosting Provider, instead. It only costs an organization a small monthly or yearly fee for this service. Hosted Desktops can be accessed by any authorized user from anywhere with Internet-connected devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Their centralization—with many of them sharing a server with multiple other Hosted Desktops—also makes them easy to secure and manage.