On April 8, 2014 Windows XP and Office 2003 will be officially designated as “end of life.” What does this mean? Starting April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, upgrades, or other patches for the operating system or the office products. Below are the details from Microsoft’s website regarding the impact of Windows XP End of Life on your business:

What does end of Windows XP support mean to customers?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Running Windows XP SP3 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: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “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 Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.

If you still have Windows XP or Office 2003 in your business environment, you’ll need to start planning a transition to newer operating systems and office products. You’ll likely also need to consider hardware upgrades as most modern operating systems will not run on older systems designed for Windows XP.

There are many options for upgrades these days. For the operating system upgrades, you can move to Windows 7 or Windows 8 or switch platforms completely to a MAC. For Office, you’ll want to upgrade to Office 365. Office 365 is a new paradigm for Microsoft: you can use the software on 5 different devices per user; you can use it installed on a local desktop or via a web browser; hardware requirements can be reduced with hosted Exchange and hosted SharePoint. The new office product offering is a good move and competes more directly with Google Apps. You can learn more about the new Office 365 by clicking here.

If you need assistance getting your systems upgraded or figuring out which version of Windows or Office is right for you, contact us today!

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