30 April 2013

Life after Windows XP?

Microsoft will stop providing technical support or security updates for Windows XP and Office 2003 in April 2014, so start thinking about upgrading now!

Companies still using Windows XP and Office 2003 on their PCs need to start thinking about the future and investing in new technology to make sure they are meeting their business IT needs.

While many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, may still be happy to carry on using Windows XP, it is essential for their IT security that they start looking at alternative options. From 8 April 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide any technical support or IT security updates for Windows XP and Office 2003,  meaning businesses that carry on using the products after this date will be leaving themselves vulnerable to problems or could end up spending a lot of money paying someone else to fix issues and provide their IT support.

But moving on from Windows XP could be seen as a positive opportunity to tighten up IT security and invest in a more mobile and productive IT for business solution.

Software upgrade

One option for businesses is to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 on their existing PCs.

Erwin Visser, General Manager of Windows Commercial, said: “Moving away from Windows XP to a more modern platform in Windows 7 and Windows 8 will ready your IT infrastructure for future technology solutions and growth of your company. Windows 8 is the modern operating system for modern businesses, building on Windows 7 fundamentals such as speed, reliability and enhanced security, while creating a modern platform designed for a new generation of hardware options.”

For PC users, other non-Microsoft operating systems worth considering switching to include Linux and Chrome OS.

Time for new equipment?

Another alternative is for businesses to look at replacing their computers with newer models, or perhaps more mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. New equipment will include up-to-date operating systems and state-of-the-art technology to benefit businesses. Nick Parker, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s OEM Division, said: “The benefits of upgrading to a Windows 8 device are very real for business customers, with new touch capabilities, tablet and convertible form factors, all-day battery, increased performance with the latest processors, TPM chips for enterprise security, sensors, stylus pens and HD cameras.”

Increased IT security is one of the main arguments in favour of swapping your old computers and investing in new devices. It is essential for businesses to protect themselves online from cyber attacks, which could have major consequences for your business. Windows 8 includes the features BitLocker and BitLocker to Go, which will encrypt information stored on company devices wherever they are, stopping your sensitive business information getting into the wrong hands.

There are also now laptops and tablets available on the market which can only be accessed by approved users through fingerprint and/or smart card readers, which increase IT security, especially when employees are taking their equipment out of your business premises.

Mobile devices can increase staff productivity by allowing them to continue working and keep up with emails while travelling and at home. And if you decide to change your equipment, it may also be worth considering a Mac or PC meets your business needs the most.

Whatever solution you choose, migrating to a new platform takes time and planning so it is best to start addressing the issue now rather than waiting until nearer the deadline.