Still On Windows XP? Say Goodbye To Productivity!

Windows XP Productivity

With the deadline now come and gone, what’s to become of those still left on Windows XP? The operating system is now over twelve years old, and although in its day it was far and away the most stable and user friendly operating system available, organisations still using it are limiting the productivity of their staff and are left open to many potential headaches down the line.

While many core productivity applications haven’t changed too dramatically, the biggest difference in computing since XP is the way the Internet has evolved. Twelve years ago there was no YouTube, let alone full productivity suites delivered through the browser. Windows XP was built for a world just getting used to being online. There are now members of the workforce that have experienced nothing but an online world.

Despite this shift in how computers are used, according to research a startling 77 per cent of UK businesses will still have Windows XP running in their IT estate, even after the support deadline has passed. This research also found that 9 per cent of organisations also admitted that they will continue to use Windows XP up to two years from now.

In addition, this research also revealed that many organisations are completely unconcerned about the security risks associated with XP beyond the end of support deadline. In total, 70 per cent of businesses felt securing XP was a priority, with only 6 per cent of organisations extremely concerned about security after support ended on 8th April.

Even after Microsoft announced that it will continue to provide basic cyber security to XP users until July 2015 in January, less than one fifth of IT decision makers said that they were convinced. 29 per cent of IT decision makers also revealed that they have no XP security concerns at all.

Not only are organisations not moving from this outdated system, but they are putting themselves at risk. We’ve already witnessed the first serious security breach of XP. Microsoft may have backtracked and provided a fix for it, but you can be certain such acts of benevolence won’t be repeated forever, especially as April 8th becomes a distant memory.

So you’re stuck on XP and think you’ve missed the boat? It’s not the end of the world if organisations didn’t migrate before the deadline. In fact, it’s never a good idea for IT departments to rush any major system overhaul. The right approach is to instead take time to find the right solution for the organisation.

But beginning a migration programme won’t make you immune to security vulnerabilities either. Organisations still using XP do need to ensure that they have adequate security in place to support legacy systems until migration onto a supported platform is complete.

With security risks surrounding XP likely to strike at any point, now is not the time where organisations can be complacent about their operating system and security. The last thing any organisation wants is a major security breach to delay what is likely to be one of the biggest IT projects it has ever undertaken.

Security protection can come in the form of comprehensive migration programmes, which if planned and executed effectively, can help secure XP operating systems for the short to medium term. It is vital that organisations implement proper planning, have the right toolset and a good methodology for these programmes to ensure that the business does not experience a disruption in operations or reduced productivity in employees. They will also allow for a reduced time of migration and secure systems appropriately.

Get the migration right, and you will have happier, more productive staff. Most people can accept minor disruption, especially if it means they can move onto a modern, user friendly platform. They’ll thank for the rich user experience later versions of Windows will allow them, however you may regret it if you can’t keep the YouTube views to a minimum.

Simon Townsend

Simon Townsend is technical director at AppSense.