To receive our quarterly e-newsletter filled with the kind of news you can use, register here.
Just in case you have not already been reminded by your own IT support, we thought it would be prudent to bring to your attention the fact that Windows XP reaches its “end of support” on April 8th 2014.
So what does that mean for any XP machines on your network?
Well... Network ROI, who look after our own IT system, tell us that essentially Microsoft will no longer provide technical assistance from April 8th 2014, and additionally, as time goes on, third party vendors will no longer write code that works with XP nor will they support their applications running in XP.
More importantly, Microsoft will no longer provide any automated updates to the XP operating system. So although the actual operating system itself will continue to function, it is likely to become more susceptible to security risks and viruses, since any malicious software written to take advantage of “holes” in the operating system will not be counteracted by Microsoft – something that normally happens automatically through your Windows Updates but will no longer happen after April 8th. Plus, if your Windows XP machine becomes compromised, it will become a likely vector for infection to the rest of your network, and may attack other computers and servers, potentially causing loss of data, downtime and ultimately expense for your business.
Additionally some security advisors have stated that they believe the software coders behind viruses, Trojans, and other nasty malware, are “saving up” malicious code until after the April 8th – which they will release after this date, comfortable in the knowledge Microsoft will not write counteracting code to block the malicious software and protect your machine. This could mean that after the date, we see a large increase in particularly effective malware which could bring XP machines grinding to a halt. It is believed that infection rates for previous versions of Windows were 66% higher within two years of support ceasing.
Microsoft also state that if you use Office 365, you may find you have connectivity problems after April 8th - though they will not be actively blocking connections, they say “connectivity to the service will be at risk”.
So, what’s the solution? You could do nothing and hope for the best for a while more (not the best idea given the issues highlighted above!) or take action now and either upgrade or replace your XP machines.
That’s the bad news – but the good news is that if you replace your XP machines now, assuming you have not already used your annual investment allowance, the current tax regime could allow you the benefit of 100% relief against your taxable profits. The annual investment allowance is available on the first £250k of assets per annum to 31 December 2014 (when the limit is expected to reduce to £25k per annum). That's a lot of new machines!
If in doubt contact your IT support provider. Alternatively call Keith Barbour at Network ROI on 0131 510 2210 or email him on email@example.com