Article provided by Naples Network Services

What does this mean to the small business owner? 

No matter how big or small your company there is serious implications to continuing to run the XP operating system in your network…

When Microsoft says the product is no longer supported it doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to work. However, they will no longer issue security patches or fix bugs in the operating system. Typically, as Microsoft is mitigating security risks and finding bugs in their newer software they will go back to older ones and find ways to patch that as well. They will no longer expend effort on this for XP. Windows XP has lived over 12 years, a long life in terms of technology. You can still run XP, but as of April 9th you are no longer PCI Compliant which is critical to retailers.  PCI Compliance includes a requirement to ensure you are issuing the latest security patches and updates to all of your machines. Now that XP will no longer update, you will not be compliant. According to the payment card industry, spending money with or giving personal data to a company using XP machines in the same network processing payments, is more risky than with businesses that are compliant. The risk is not all on the customer’s side, the average cost of a breach is quite expensive for the business owner, not to mention the loss in revenue from customers who know that your business is where their financial information or personal data was taken from.

Why are the security updates such a big deal?

When you consider statistics on malware infection rates, Windows XP is already a highly vulnerable platform. In comparison to Windows 7 or Windows 8 the infection rate is much higher. Attackers will target this operating system knowing less attention is being paid to it and thus the number of exploits will increase. Without the Microsoft army working against them, hackers will look at the updates given to Windows 7 and 8 as a way to go back to XP to test the same vulnerabilities there. XP’s long life has given hackers a long time to get familiar with the system and evolve the complexity of their attacks to a point at which XP can’t keep up. It makes sense that Microsoft would concentrate their efforts on their newer operating systems so that the level of complexity for exploiting vulnerabilities in those systems remains very high.  

 Are you willing to risk your business on it? If not, please contact us today, if you are running Windows XP contact Naples Network Services to see how they can help you upgrade.  Call Naples Network Services at (239) 293-4697