The sun is setting on our old friends Windows XP and Office 2003. Alas, life does go on and sunrise brings new opportunities with a new day. Microsoft will no longer provide extended support past April 8, 2014. That means no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.
What are your plans to phase out Windows XP and Office 2003 in your business? If you do not have a plan, you are late. Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 18 to 32 months from start to finish.
Continuing to use Windows XP and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:
- Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
- Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: An industry report from Gartner suggested “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common.” And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner further notes that as of 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers would stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models. 
It is important for every business to plan for the day when Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be a secure or supported choices to run your business applications. Microsoft’s release of Windows 8 may be a tempting replacement, but before you run out and upgrade all of your PCs and laptops to Windows 8, there are considerations that must be carefully examined. For example, we strongly encourage the creation of a master list of software that is necessary to run the business. These software packages should be classified as critical, important, or non-critical. Next, each software package will need investigation to see what operating platforms they support and what their development life cycle will support in the coming months and years. Knowing this information is critical to making a smart business decision. Based on the data provided from your software audit, a determination can be made as to which operating platform is best for your business (Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac, 32-bit versus 64-bit, etc).
Once the next generation platform has been decided upon, a timeline can be established for bringing your business infrastructure up to date. Do not wait until the last minute or you may find yourself riding off into the sunset with our old friends Windows XP and Office 2003. Creating the timeline can help with cash flow and reduce long-term expenses by avoiding the problems that come from last minute replacements, not to mention the increased productivity that comes with newer operating systems and business software.
Call us at (888) 600-4560 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us help your business plan the migration from older Microsoft technologies to a more secure and long-term platform for your PC infrastructure. Sure, we will miss the familiarity of Windows XP and Office 2003, but let’s enjoy the sunset from the secure vantage point of an upgraded and supported infrastructure.