Westchester Businesses Are Facing Life Without Windows XP

After 12 years, Microsoft is pulling the plug on the ubiquitous operating system.

The countdown is on for Westchester businesses still using Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system: support for the 12-year-old system—still projected to be in use by approximately 25 percent or more of PC users worldwide—comes to an end on April 8, 2014. Why? According to Microsoft, “the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.”

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Robert Cioffi, Progressive Computing

So, after April 8th, Microsoft will no longer provide such a “great experience” for XP users. The company will cease providing security updates or technical support for XP, and third-party software and hardware providers will no longer have to build in compatibility for XP systems. In addition, XP machines will no longer be in compliance with HIPAA regulations. These factors will combine for a significant impact on security and operability, according to Robert Cioffi, CEO of Yonkers-based Progressive Computing, an IT services provider, who urges local business owners to prepare.

“The worst thing you can do is nothing,” says Cioffi.  “If a system or network is compromised due to a security exploit, there is a price to consider in terms of remediation and potential damage to reputation.”

Not sure how to migrate away from XP? If you are a small business owner with only a few XP machines in the mix, it is fairly easy to replace your XP machines, Cioffi says. “In most cases, XP machines are old enough to have lasted at least 3-5 years or more,” which is normally when they should be replaced anyway, he says. Some business owners, however, may face a challenge related to business software compatibility, i.e. some older software that only runs properly in an XP environment. “In this case, there may be some additional time and costs involved in upgrading both software and machines,” Cioffi says.

But this forced upgrade does have an upside for business owners: they can expect a vastly improved experience. “XP is a 12-year-old operating system, and the world of technology has progressed dramatically since its release. With most businesses placing a premium on productivity, it’s counterintuitive to expect an old system to offer satisfactory performance,” Cioffi explains.

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For more information from Microsoft, visit: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/end-support-help

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