New Zealand businesses and consumers with PCs still running old Windows XP software have less than six months to upgrade their operating system, before the likelihood of their PC getting a virus or some other outside attack significantly increases.
On 8 April 2014 support will end for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. From that date onwards there will be no further security updates or patches released, no number to call for technical assistance, and no online technical content updates from Microsoft. Essentially, XP users in New Zealand and around the world will be on their own.
“We estimate that up to 377,000 PCs in New Zealand running Windows XP could be vulnerable to malware attacks after 8 April 2014 and we want to make sure that Kiwis upgrade before Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP,” says Dean Edwards, Windows Business Group Manager at Microsoft NZ.
Much like other technology such as your mobile phone or digital camera, after 13 years XP is outdated. It can no longer handle people’s expectations around data privacy and productivity, or the types of sophisticated cyber-attacks that now exist.
The security risks for New Zealanders using XP will significantly increase, and both businesses and personal computers running XP will be impacted. The latest statistics from Microsoft show in New Zealand:
· 18.8% of all personal PCs run Windows XP
· 25.3% of PCs used by all types of businesses run Windows XP
Microsoft NZ’s Dean Edwards says it is concerning the number of computers in New Zealand still running Windows XP.
“We’re well and truly at the stage where businesses and personal computer users need to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 – both to protect against risk, and to get the benefits of running a modern operating system.
“For businesses, upgrading an operating system takes time. Depending on complexity, small businesses could take three to six months to upgrade, and larger businesses can take six months or more. We are really worried that some New Zealand companies are cutting it too close to the end of support date,” says Edwards.
Beyond security implications, hardware support for Windows XP and the availability of hardware drivers will continue to diminish, making the operating system progressively more difficult and costly to support. In addition to this, an increasingly long list of modern software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office 2013, cannot be installed on Windows XP.
One New Zealand business that has recently upgraded from Windows XP is House of Travel. Dave Veronese, CIO of House of Travel, says “We had 1,100 computers running XP in all our offices and branches, and migrating them to Windows 8 caused little disruption to the business. It was something we delayed doing for so long, but we’ve already noticed the benefit of using more up to date software and would highly recommend upgrading for the advantages of the new operating system.”