Businesses still relying on an old Microsoft system to run their computers could be putting their data at risk, an IT specialist is warning.
Chris Griffin, of Swindon-based Sensata IT, says any company still using Windows XP should upgrade, because from April Microsoft will no longer support the operating system.
“Windows XP was a very good operating system, which is why there are such a large number of businesses still using it,” said Chris, technical director at Sensata, based at Rivermead.
“But it has been overtaken by newer systems – the current one being Windows 8 – and Microsoft has said that from next April it will no longer put out any updates or offer technical support.
"This doesn’t mean that XP will stop working overnight, but anyone using it will be very susceptible to hackers. There are very big security implications.”
In 2012 it was estimated that more than 40 per cent of businesses still used XP. While this figure will have dropped, it is still thought to be around 30 per cent.
Chris said Microsoft’s withdrawal of support also meant XP users could have difficulty with internet access.
“XP is only supported up to Internet Explorer 8. We’re now on version 10 and 11 will be out soon.
"This means in practice that anyone using XP may be unable to get on the internet via Internet Explorer. If they try another option – such as Google Chrome – they may find they can’t access some websites effectively.”
He added that there were other benefits to switching.
When Windows 7 was introduced, businesses found they had 83 per cent less downtime each year, reboots dropped 86 per cent per month, and productivity was increased by 7.8 hours per year, per person.
“Our advice at Sensata is for companies to make the change now. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to invest in new hardware. It may be possible to install the latest systems, either Windows 7 or Windows 8.
"However, businesses which do switch to a newer operating system will also need to look at any third party software they use, as this may also then need to be upgraded.”
Sensata IT is a certified Microsoft partner and a Microsoft small business specialist. Chris and his fellow technicians at Sensata are all Microsoft Certified Professionals.
For more information contact Chris on 01793 250030 or visit www.sensata.co.uk.