Microsoft to End Support on Windows XP and Office 2003


By Karen Frank

Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive a minimum of 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support), at the supported service pack level. What does that mean to you? On April 8, 2014, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported. Based on historical data, the average company can take 18 to 32 months to upgrade. To ensure that you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin planning to upgrade your current computers now. Once the support ends, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

The disadvantage of continuing to run Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 after the end of the support date is possibly exposing your company to potential risks, such as:

• Security and 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 and Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests "many independent software vendors are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP”.

The advantages of keeping current with the latest releases include more flexibility in taking advantage of the latest technology trends such as virtualization and the cloud. It also increases operational efficiency through improved security and management tools offered.

In the planning phase of the upgrade, you want to look at the versions that are now available to you. You will probably want to migrate to the latest software available. Before you purchase, make sure you consider the following:

• Do all of your mission-critical applications run on the new version you have selected?
• Does your current hardware support the new version?
• Will you need to roll-out training sessions for your employees so that they know how to navigate in the new version?

Don’t wait. Start the process now so that your organization will not be at risk.

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This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax related matter.

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