Windows XP (simply referred to hereafter as XP) is one of the most popular operating systems in the history of computing. Hundreds of millions of people have used it over its lifetime and hundreds of millions continue to use it today. With the end of support date for XP SP3 looming in less than 14 months (April 8, 2014), many enterprises have accelerated their plans to move to a more modern operating system. However, some manufacturing organizations plan to continue to use XP with or without support for many reasons, including:
Despite all these concerns, the decision to stay on XP is not a good idea for many reasons:
In the end, despite the convenience of using the same operating system and applications to run manufacturing plants, the security concerns alone make it a must to upgrade from XP. If this is not possible, then XP-based machines should be isolated and well protected from outside security risks. The downfalls for staying on XP should be well thought of, such as, support cost as well as costs associated with productivity and maintenance that are expected to soar after the end of support date. Organizations who opt to continue to use XP beyond that date will expose their environments to serious security risks as no patches for vulnerabilities discovered after that date will be available unless with special costly arrangements. Finally, the benefits of upgrading to new hardware and to Windows 7 or 8 should not be ignored either as these benefits allow the users to enjoy hardware and software that are more reliable, secure, and much easier to use.