Warning klaxons sound for Windows XP

Despite Windows XP and Office 2003 support ending in April 8 2014, more than 15 percent of midsize and large businesses are still, and will continue using the OS Gartner has said.

The company has decided to help heal the IT world and put together some recommendations on how companies can wean themselves off the OS as well as the risks associated with sticking to them.

Michael Silver and Steve Kleynhans, vice presidents in Gartner’s client computing team pointed out that not having support means that organisations’ PCs could be vulnerable to attack.

New vulnerabilities are always being found, and new vulnerabilities that are found in more current products could affect Windows XP and Office 2003, the duo said.

They warned that any unpatched device could be vulnerable to attack, even a private network  that has no internet access. They explained that this was because another device, even one running a supported product, could be infected with malware outside the private network and bring it onto the private network, infecting other devices.

Many applications will no longer be supported while running on Windows XP, which the pair said meant organisations could be on their own to resolve issues and problems leading to system downtime.

Organisations that are not almost or completely finished migrating off Windows XP and/or Office 2003 should reassess their position by reviewing their project plans and ensuring that they are on target to meet the deadline, Gartner said.

It said companies that were afraid they were unlikely to complete their migration projects by April 2014 should prioritise their applications and users so they could reduce the risks by addressing critical resources first.

Conducting several analyses on their application portfolios to help safeguard the company after XP support ends, and in preparation for Windows 7 or 8 migrations would also help businesses.