Last night , at midnight PST , Microsoft ended support for Windows XP.
While 12 years may seem an appropriate length of time to support a software product in today’s fast-changing world, this decision will have a major impact on the business operations of many companies whose IT infrastructure is based on the retiring operating system.
Through necessity, work arounds can likely be created for any technical issues that arise after this date. Of significantly more concern is the end of security updates. Without security updates, vulnerabilities exploited by malware will not be corrected. According to Microsoft, “PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected.” For any organization, whether large or small, this means increasingly greater risk over time of having servers successfully hacked and sensitive data exposed. What does this mean to IT and users? Again, according to Microsoft, “It means you should take action.”
One option open to organizations is to upgrade legacy infrastructure to a newer version of Windows. This path involves investment and risk, both in terms of cost and time to upgrade equipment as well as downtime and delays in propagating these changes across an organization. Equipment that cannot support a newer operating system may need to be retired as well. It can difficult to estimate the loss of productivity an organization will experience during this process.
Within the cloud, other options are available. Virtual desktop technology, typically offered as Desktop as a Service (DaaS), provides a migration path for organizations that minimizes risk, upfront investment, and downtime. Users can be transitioned off Windows XP-based equipment to state-of-art servers running the applications they need in the cloud. These servers provide not only the latest in security but also often performance and efficiency enhancements.
DaaS is not some new experimental technology that may or may not work. Offered by service providers like Netelligent and Quest, these Cisco Powered DaaS services are powerful and proven to help organizations quickly address the issues raised by the end of support for Windows XP with no loss in productivity or security. Performance is assured so organizations can have confidence that their day-to-day business operations will not be interrupted. Users will also benefit from continuous innovation, including protection through the latest security technology.
The passing of Windows XP can actually be an opportunity for many businesses. By moving to the cloud and DaaS, they can begin to step away from the limitations of fixed infrastructure and transform their business through the flexible and dynamic capabilities of the cloud.