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In case there is any doubt: Windows XP End of Support is an “Official” Problem

In case there is any doubt: Windows XP End of Support is an “Official” Problem

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Woody Walton

I have been speaking around the country to VARs and other Microsoft Partners about the opportunity that Windows XP End of Support represents.   I know I may sound like a broken record, but we need to make sure we are crystal clear in dialogues with customers.  …and in case you have been unsuccessful with conversations to this point, please use all the updated ammunition to your benefit!  This is and will continue to be a great lever to pull in driving our collective customers to a modern (and supported) platform!

Did you know that that earlier this month our federal government weighed in?  Yep, that is right.  On March 10th  US-CERT, The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team released alert TA14-069A:

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP and Office 2003

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The Alert is link above and through the graphic above.   It of course discusses the concerns we all know such as:

 

Microsoft is ending support for the Windows XP operating system and Office 2003 product line on April 8, 2014. [1] After this date, these products will no longer receive:

    • Security patches which help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
    • Assisted technical support from Microsoft
    • Software and content updates

Impact

Computer systems running unsupported software are exposed to an elevated risk to cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Users may also encounter problems with software and hardware compatibility since new software applications and hardware devices may not be built for Windows XP or Office 2003.

Organizations that are governed by regulatory obligations may find they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. [4]

What is most interesting is that they throw you a bone under the “solution” section.

Solution

Computers operating Windows XP with SP3 or running Office 2003 products will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risk of viruses and other security threats.

Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or office productivity suite. The Microsoft “End of Support” pages for Windows XP and Office 2003 offer additional details.

There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows XP or Office 2003 to a currently supported operating system or office productivity suite. US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

Users who choose to continue using Windows XP after the end of support may mitigate some risks by using a web browser other than Internet Explorer. The Windows XP versions of some alternative browsers will continue to receive support temporarily. Users should consult the support pages of their chosen alternative browser for more details.

You cannot beat that with a stick!  An official announcement.  A recommendation to enlist the assistance of a service provider.  You couple this with the fact the economy is doing better (if channel sales are any indication), that 75% of SMBs consider it important for them to have the most up-to-date technology*, and that the there are still roughly 5.2 million PCs in the US SMB space  still on Windows XP, and it means you should have no problem finding someone to assist.  The opportunity is really much greater as the above number reflects 5-249 Seat Range (what Microsoft considers SMB) and beyond that there are upwards of 18 Million affected seats in aggregate in the US.

Know that we,along with our OEMs, have a lot of solutions and marketing materials to assist you in these conversations.  Chief among ours is the Get2Modern Campaign

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There are only 8 days left until Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003 end Support,  Capitalize on the opportunity.   I think Sergio Galindo, general manager with GFI Software, which provides IT support to small and mid-sized businesses, put it best when he said:

“It's like expired milk, If you drink it one day after it expires, you're OK. But after a month, the risk is exponentially greater."

The quote came from a CNN Money article written by Parija Kavilanz that can be found here.

I would like to thank a peer of mine, Mark McClure, who supports Microsoft at our distributor SYNNEX corporation for referring me to the quote above.   It is catching and I do not think you will find a better analogy!

Cheers,

Woody

*Microsoft Windows Commercial US SMB Tablet Needs Survey

 

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