It’s Curtains for Windows XP
The day of Windows XP is over. Recently, Microsoft announced that, on April 8th, 2014, they will be retiring the venerable Windows XP operating system. What exactly does it mean to retire an operating system? According to Microsoft’s website:
After 12 years, support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014. There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. It is very important that customers and partners migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 8.1. Customers moving to a modern operating system will benefit from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice for a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership through improved management capabilities.
If your business has been relying on the XP operating system, what does this mean for you?
What End of Support Means
When Microsoft stops offering support and updates for XP users, this can impact your business in several ways. As noted in the quote above, more modern operating systems offer improved security, improved accessibility, mobility, and manageability, and improved productivity. What this says without saying is, XP will become increasingly less secure, less efficient, less productive, and less manageable. Security risks are a hugely important consideration for business owners. Security risks threaten every aspect of your business operation, and after April 8th, no one will be able to help you address these concerns. “No further updates” means that whatever the current capabilities of this operating system are, that’s how it will stay. No matter how business software improves and grows, XP will be static and will not adapt to new demands and new potential.
What Should You Do?
As XP phases out, you should be on the lookout for replacement operating systems for your business machines. This is a good time to analyze how you are using computers in your business — are you getting as much out of them as you can be? Innovative new business solutions are constantly emerging which simplify, improve, and secure business data and processes. If you’ve been relying on old machines with old business software, this can be a great opportunity to implement a new solution that will maximize your business’s efficiency and productivity.
While many large companies, especially in technology, already rely heavily on computers for business processes, there are many businesses — especially small businesses — which do not. Perhaps it is a lack of familiarity with the options that are out there, or a lack of confidence in computer-using skills. Perhaps business owners feel that because they aren’t running mega technology corporations, good business software is not for them. Maybe they believe it is too cumbersome, or expensive, or complex for their small operations.
If you’ve been using XP and are considering how to proceed, here are some useful questions to ask:
- What business processes am I currently running on computers? Accounting? Inventory? HR?
- What business processes could or should I be running on computers?
- What software is out there that could meet my needs? Does anyone offer scalable solutions, if I need more or less than the standard package?
- What level of computer skills do I or my employees have? What business software is the most accessible for our abilities? Can I afford — or would I want to afford — to send one or more employees for training?
- What are the risks for continuing to use XP past its expiration?
- Should I just switch to the newest version of the Windows operating system, or is it time for me to investigate other options, such as iOS?
XP is about to become a quagmire. Without security, without support, with no possible updates or fresh, innovative solutions possible, XP can potentially trap your business in a stagnant and unproductive status quo. Like technology, businesses need to keep moving forward. As soon as they stop, they will fall behind. Don’t let your old software hold you back.