Potentially Threatening News for Windows XP Users

Is Your Computer Security at Risk

Many of you have heard the chatter for months now, and have been expecting the inevitable for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system.  The Microsoft Windows XP Apocalypse is upon us.

After April 8, Microsoft will stop offering support for the Windows XP system. This includes tech support, updates and security reinforcements.  While Microsoft has stated that they will release updates for the XP version of their free MS Security Essentials software security program through the middle of 2015, this will not keep dedicated users safe from hackers, attacks, and viruses for long.

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With the ever-changing landscape in the software industry, it is hard to imagine that more than 25% of the world still uses Windows XP as their desktop operating system considering the operating system was launched 13 years ago. Even more surprising, Microsoft discontinued retail production several years ago, in 2008, making even the newest Windows XP operating systems more than 5 years old.

If Windows XP users browse the web and research these changes, they will find that most, if not all, of the credible data security companies and tech gurus are emphatically encouraging Windows XP users to move on.  The most prominent reasons for this are directly related to the security of data stored on the operating system and the compatibility of the operating system relative to newer software and products being sold on the market today.  However, that may not be a valid solution for everyone, and there are alternatives.

For the average “home” user, there are other operating systems available, such as Linux, that offer a Windows type interface, web browsing, email, and other common home user activities and capabilities, outside of the MS Office Suite.  While much more could be said for those operating systems and the benefits available to those seeking these types of solutions, the average Windows XP user will find what they are looking for with relative ease.  The real headache will be had by business owners, executives and management level employees needing more from an operating system, seeking to ride out the storm until the last minute; a HIGH RISK and POTENTIALLY THREATENING decision.

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For the owners, executives and management staff pondering what their next move is, the answer is simple; upgrade to newer software.  What if your Windows XP crashes?  What if your unsecured data is hacked or stolen by identity thieves?  What if your client’s information is hacked or stolen, as has happened recently to larger chains such as Target and Neiman Marcus.  As unlikely as those possibilities may be to the average business owner or manager, the facts are these scenarios happen every day at a growing pace.  Antimalware and other such products are not able keep up with the changes and new products released on the market every day.  Thus making older operating systems, like Windows XP, even more vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.  Even if those things do not seem real enough, we all know how unprofitable our businesses are when computers are down for even a small amount of time, and isn’t that the most common reason we go into business, to be profitable?

These days a new Windows 7 operating system can be purchased at a reasonable cost, certainly considering the alternatives, and even though the new Windows 8 operating system has not received the greatest user reviews, we all experience difficulty whenever a software transition emanates.  Personal computer, desktops and laptops, sales have been steadily weakening in the past few years due to the rising demand for smartphones and tablets which offer many of the same features on the go.  More and more technology is being driven by these demands and it does not appear that the trend will lose momentum.  For owners and operators alike, there is too much to gain from these capabilities and the operational workflow is more productive and efficient to argue.

In the end, we all get attached to, grow to love and enjoy the things we use every day and depend on.  Often we do not realize it until something like the Windows XP transition occurs.  However, soon we will be attaching to and enjoying the newer better things being offered to us, and we will all learn to succeed in our industries with these tools.  Make life easier and be more profitable; be prepared and upgrade to newer software.

By:  Richard Browning

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