There are just two weeks to go until Microsoft pulls the plug on its Windows XP operating system – and businesses are being warned to act now or face falling victim to hackers and viruses.
Support for Windows XP will officially end in a fortnight’s time on Tuesday April 8, which means Microsoft will no longer issue updates to patch bugs and security vulnerabilities.
It is thought that around 30 per cent of desktop computers are still running XP, meaning that hundreds of businesses only have a short time to act to keep their systems secure to make sure they are safe from viruses.
Centerprise International, based in Basingstoke, Hampshire, a leading supplier of managed computer systems for businesses, says companies need to make sure they aren’t relying on the outdated system. Firms can be fined under the Data Protection Act if their security fails and customer data is exposed.
To help concerned businesses, Centerprise has launched a microsite with useful information about the change at www.centerprise.co.uk/xpeos
Darren Smith, Government and Corporate Sales Manager at Centerprise, said: “Businesses have a responsibility to make sure their data is secure and if they are still running XP then they are at risk of leaving themselves vulnerable to viruses, hackers and system problems. Later versions of Windows have much better security features and will be regularly updated to keep them secure.
“We think it’s very likely that XP systems will be targeted once official support ends. The only way businesses can protect themselves is by moving to a properly-supported operated system. If you hold any kind of data for customers, it’s not something you can afford to ignore.
“Failing to update to a newer operating system may see companies fined because those that hold customer data are required to take measures to protect themselves from hackers.”
Windows XP was released in 2001 and by 2006, more than 400million copies were in use worldwide. Microsoft stopped selling it in 2008, a year after its successor, Windows Vista, was released.
Centerprise International is one of the largest and most respected IT providers in the UK and delivers large-scale IT projects in the corporate, education and government sectors.
For more information about Centerprise International, see www.centerprise.co.uk