Are You Ready for April 2014? If Not, Your Computer Network Is at Risk

Do you know what happens on April 8, 2014? If you run Windows XP or Office 2003 in your office environment, you should – you could face compliance and security risks if you’re not prepared.

On that day, support will officially end for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003. This means no more security updates, patches, hotfixes, or technical support. As a result, there are potential consequences that require upgrades now rather than later – especially given how long it takes to upgrade an enterprise network.

Here is the info you need to know before the April deadline arrives so you can act today.

Windows XP Set to Fade Away computer network

Approximately 31% of all organizations use Windows XP in some capacity. Considering how long ago this OS was launched, that is a remarkable statistic.

Now, though, Microsoft is moving its customers away from this mainstay by ending support. You can certainly use Windows XP SP3 after this date if you wish – there’s nothing to keep you from it – but doing so is unwise.


Why not Upgrading Is Risky

If you continue using unsupported Windows XP after next April, your organization will face:

  • Security risks from vulnerabilities and exploits that will no longer be patched or fixed but will still be prevalent
  • Potential for certification suspension should an auditing organization determine you can no longer maintain the integrity of your systems
  • Lack of compliance with federal regulations in certain industries, such as healthcare, that require a certain standard of information security for sensitive data

Furthermore, it’s also pretty likely that software and hardware vendors will stop supporting Windows XP SP3. The OS immediately preceding Windows XP – Windows 2000 no longer has hardware or software supported on that operating system.  Software and hardware created today can’t function properly with Windows 2000.

The same fate is likely with Windows XP.

The risk of using Microsoft Office 2003 is a bit less severe, but is still something you’ll need to address to make sure your work environment is as productive as it is now. Given the time it takes to deploy a new IT environment, acting today is better than waiting any longer and facing problems come April.

Take Action Today to Prepare Your Business  

April is less than six months away. That’s not a lot of time to protect your systems against new viruses, aggressive hackers, and other dangers to your systems.

Plus – and this is just as important – there may be serious legal compliance issues at stake, as mentioned above. The cost of dealing with paperwork, paying fines, hiring lawyers, and ultimately fixing a problem later is far greater than preemptively preparing now. Don’t get entangled in red tape and government agency enforcement if at all possible.

Take action today to make sure your systems are upgraded and ready to not only protect against outside dangers, but also comply with the law.