Do I need to replace Windows XP in my network?

I am sure by now everyone has heard that Microsoft will end all support and updates for Windows XP in just over a month.  The IT Press is full of articles of doom and gloom similar to the Y2K predictions that were made by many back in 1999.  Well I have some good news and some bad… and what YOU need to do as you make a decision for your organization.

Good News:

Windows XP will continue to work on any computer in its current state.

Bad News:

There will be no additional Security Updates and Fixes to correct new threats that are discovered.

What can you do?

First, identify how this will impact your business.

Take an inventory of Windows XP PCs and divide them into two groups. Group 1 are those PCs used daily on your network to access the Internet for web access or Internet communication.  These PCs should be immediately targeted for replacement.  Group 2 are those PCs that have some other purpose such as controllers for machinery, dedicated PCs that run equipment or processes such as CAD, estimating, or other business processes that DO NOT use the web or Internet.  My recommendation is that you can continue to use these PCs for the lifetime of the PC hardware.

The last decision to make is based upon your installed Anti-Virus security products used on Windows XP.

Ask your security vendors such as Symantec and Trend Micro, how long they will continue to issue signature updates for products installed on Windows XP.  This should be the last possible date you continue to use a Windows XP Computer that will have any access to the Internet.

Next week we will look at the true cost of Windows XP replacement… it may surprise you that a new operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8 is the least expensive part of an upgrade.

Paul R. Cook
Paul R. Cook
Vice President, Network Services Group

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