Not just IT departments counting down to Windows XP deadline

Margaret Cashill
Staff Writer-
Tampa Bay Business Journal

The Windows XP deadline is upon us, and if you haven’t looked into an upgrade, you may face serious consequences.

On Tuesday Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will discontinue technical support for the operating system after 12 years. Microsoft has posted a clock counting down the seconds before the switch.

While IT departments of large companies have planned for the change, business people focused on day-to-day leadership or sales may not realize the full impact, said Dan Collins, CEO of Tampa security and compliance consulting firm 360 Advanced.

Collins works with companies that comply with PCI, HIPPA and other professional standards. He has urged clients to form a business plan to upgrade. It will be much more difficult to maintain compliance if they don’t, he said.

Dan Collins

“We’re down to a handful of clients that have these compliance and security needs who for business reasons have been unable to do that,” he said. “Now our role is to advise them on ‘workaround’ so they can continue to use Windows XP.”

Upgrading to a new system can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000, Devi Mazumdar, president of IT support firm CMIT Solutions told Tampa Bay Business Journal sister publication the San Antonio Business Journal.

It will be worth it in the long run, she said. The cost to support an outdated system outweighs the one-time cost to upgrade.

Along with the count-down clock, Microsoft offers advice for migrating off Windows XP for enterprise customers, small- and medium-sized businesses and individual PC users.
Failure to upgrade has more ominous implications still.

The discontinuation of security updates makes Windows XP vulnerable to cyber threats. According to technology blog Gizmodo Dan Collins, this makes the system “a giant, pulsating bullseye for hackers.”