On the 8th of April 2014 Microsoft Windows XP and Office 2003 will reach the end of its product life cycle. Also, the Outlook email support utilised by Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 will also be outdated. This means that if you are still running this operating system you will no longer receive any security updates, non-security hotfixes or online technical content updates.
Why is this happening?
- In 2002 Microsoft introduced its “Support Lifecycle policy”. This was a way in which the products offered became more transparent, showing predictable guidelines for product support availability.
- The idea of this was that by understanding the product support available, customers are better able to maximize the management of their IT investments and strategically plan for a successful IT future.
- To summarise Microsoft products have a 10 year support policy (5 years mainstream support and 5 years extended support) and that time is up for XP!
What does this mean for me?
- Fundamentally, it means it’s time to take action, if you have been postponing upgrading your operating system now is the time to act.
- What it boils down to on user level is that security updates, technical content updates and Microsoft assisted support options will cease completely.
- Email support for Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 will be discontinued. Should you have any serious issues Microsoft support will not be available in the case of disaster. Whilst StoneHouse Logic can resolve 99% of email functionality issues, if a problem occurs that needs external assistance or is going to take multiple days to resolve we won’t be able to call on Microsoft to help. Also, any new PC’s will not work with your existing server for email, as Outlook 2013 is not compatible. Older versions of Outlook are available but stock levels are now known to be running very low and the price has risen sharply.
- On a security level, if you don’t act and you continue to run windows XP you may be exposing your company to unnecessary potential risks!
- Security & Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in suspension of certifications or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
- ISV & Hardware Manufacturers support: Basically; Sage and Iris products, are unlikely to continue supporting Windows XP and most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on their new models.
What can I do now?
- To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows/Office start planning now to ensure the cross over takes place before the end of support.
- It’s not all bad news! Getting up to date with Windows and Office has great benefits beyond keeping you supported. It offers countless flexibility to empower employees to be more productive, while increasing operational efficiency through improved PC security.
- This will also enable your company to take advantage of the latest technology trends such as virtualization and cloud computing! This is one of the key benefits offered with the new Office 365 software, which boasts the ability to access your documents from anywhere with an internet connection, not only with a PC or laptop but also with tablets and smart phones.
How do I move forward?
- If your current Hardware meets the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can easily upgrade to Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8. If your PC does not meet system requirements, you may need to consider purchasing a new business PC with Windows 8 Pro.
- Don’t panic; although the support network for this operating system has reached maturity, this does not mean that the products themselves will shut down and cease to function. It just means that Microsoft are pulling away the safety net.
- If you are still confused as to what this means for you, or you need advice as to how to move forward with your development onto a new Microsoft platform get in touch, we can help. Trust us – you’re in good company.