image

I was in a government medical clinic two weeks ago, where they had rolled out a brand new system for managing their customer workflow and medical records. And every single computer, with this brand new software system, was running on Windows XP. They had built a brand-new mission critical IT system on 12-year-old technology. It left me wondering what my rights would be from next April, after Windows XP support has ended, if somebody tries to load my medical records and history into an unsupported, at-risk computer?

Generally speaking, education institutions are ahead of other public sector organisations in ensuring that IT is kept up to date, and there are proportionally less Windows XP computers running in education. However, those that are may well be running mission critical systems – things like your catering system tills, student management system, or some of your infrastructure services like printing. It’s often the case that they are last to be migrated because they just sit in the background, silently getting on with their job.

But official support for Windows XP and Office 2003 ends in April 2014. Which means no more automatic Windows Updates for Windows XP – and a big increase in the risk profile of your computers (see what ComputerWorld think).

Here’s some info from our End Of Support website for Windows XP and Office 2003 that might help you to alert colleagues, and plan your next move.

image

In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy based on customer feedback to have more transparency and predictability of support for Microsoft products. As per this policy, Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level.

Thus, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will go out of support on April 8, 2014. If your organisation has not started the migration to a modern desktop, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from business case through full deployment. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and application testing immediately to ensure you deploy before end of support.

Learn about how other organisations have benefited from migrating to Windows 7 and Windows 8 Enterprise.

image

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your organisation to potential risks, such as:

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognised control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organisation’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests "many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common." And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers stopped supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.

Get current with Windows and Office. This option has upside well beyond keeping you supported. It offers more flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security and management. It also enables your organization to take advantage of latest technology trends such as virtualisation and the cloud.

image

Microsoft offers large organisations in-depth technical resources, tools, and expert guidance to ease the deployment and management of Windows, Office and Internet Explorer products and technologies. To learn more about migration and deployment programs, contact your Microsoft Partner (or your Microsoft Account Manager). To learn how to pilot and deploy a modern desktop yourself, you can download the free Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and begin your deployment today.

Even if you think you’ve got no Windows XP computers left in your school, TAFE or university, keep an eye out next time you are in your admin office, canteen, library or media services room – there’s a chance you’ll spot at least one PC that you’ve got to do something about before next year.

Learn MoreLearn more about Windows XP and Office 2003 end of support