By now, it has been pretty well-publicized that Microsoft will be ending official support of Windows XP on April 8. Despite the fact that the operating system is incredibly out of date, people all over the world are still using it. From private users to major companies, XP is still found utilized in modern systems. Some people refuse to switch, while still others are unable to due to the cost of buying a new machine and/or software. Whatever the case, Microsoft has been trying to push its customers up to more modern systems for some time now, and there is some hysteria surrounding the idea that many people will still be running it after the cutoff.
But while many Windows fans have been sweating this quickly-approaching day for some time now, their peers in the camps of competitors – not to mention those using a more recent copy of the long-standing OS – have probably been putting it in the back of their minds. But the truth is, there is more to worry about than just the end of XP.
Microsoft will also be ending support for programs like Office and Outlook that, released in 2003, continue to be widely used outside of the Windows ecosystem. This means that countless others, in addition to the large segment of the population that uses XP, are also in danger of being targeted by malicious hackers starting in just over a week.
Those who are still running these programs should start exploring alternatives if they have not already. The end of Windows XP has many more implications than just the loss of an operating system. The tools that were supported by it are also in grave danger of being attacked digitally. Anyone who plans on continuing to use this software will need to take extra precautions.
Learning from Microsoft’s mistakes
The biggest risk of using Windows XP and/or Office and Outlook from 2003 lies in the security updates that the programs will no longer benefit from. There is a strong chance that if something is noticed and repaired on Windows 8, the same problem went undetected on XP. This means that cybercriminals can use these new updates to learn about weaknesses in systems still running with XP.
The same goes for the software that will also stop receiving patches. Outlook and Office users, even if they are not using Windows, are in great danger of becoming victims of criminal activity. Should files be transferred and accessed by these programs, they may unknowingly be carrying harmful malware that can exploit unnoticed holes in security.
But while it would be ideal for everyone to be able to upgrade their assets as soon as possible, the funds might just not be available to do so, namely for enterprises and educational facilities. If this is the case, alternative steps need to be taken.
crucial after April 8
In the event that moving away from these systems and services will not be in the cards, there will have to be extra precautions in play. These Microsoft offerings, however old they may be, are still functional pieces of software, but they are going to have to be guarded with much more diligence until the implementation of new programs is a done deal.
Computer restore software, like Deep Freeze from Faronics, will be necessary for a foreseeable future with Windows XP and certain older Microsoft programs. This kind of asset will allow users to easily maintain their files and settings should a critical error occur. Faronics will be there to provide a safety net to anyone who has not been able to make the switch to more recent tools.