Windows XP users have less than a year to work out ‘what next?’

End of support on April 8, 2014 does not mean Windows XP will come to a grinding halt. It just means it will not be patched or supported; it will become more susceptible to external threats from hackers and viruses.

If you don’t worry about those things there is probably no need to update your systems. Let’s face it; you probably have bigger problems in your life, like figuring out which side of the car to get in to find the steering wheel or deciding if you should wear long sleeves or short today.

OK, maybe that is a little harsh, but computer security in business is no longer an option.

With recent data ransom hacks being done, across Queensland in particular, it is clear that protecting even a single PC is now required. Also, given that 38.73% of computer users are still on XP, there is a lot of work to be done in the next 12 months to move them to a supported environment.

The good news is that 44.73% (the majority) of users are on Windows 7 and it works really well. The jury is still hung on Windows 8; some love its look and feel, others hate it. Some find it is stable, others don’t.

So no matter whether you are moving to Windows 7 or 8 or Apple or other platforms, waiting for months is not the smartest of plans. Having your IT people do a quick review of what is in place and setting a budget now for next financial year makes very good sense. Sneaking it into this financial year may make even better sense from a tax perspective, but check that with your accountant.

Keeping technology up to date is not essential, and I am certainly hearing people say ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. However, if you are in business and use a computer as part of your business systems, it is wise to invest in it. Keeping it up to date will help you in many ways.

Moore’s Law is an observation made by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. He noticed that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. Moore’s Law predicts that this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.

Although the pace has slowed, the number of transistors per square inch has since doubled approximately every 18 months. This is used as the current definition of Moore’s Law.

What this means to those of you still using Windows XP – which is now a 12-year-old operating system and is potentially running on a PC that is five or more years old – is that a new computer will process your work some eight to 16 times faster. Now we have all heard that before but still feel the frustration of poor performance of IT systems as networks or servers or PCs slow down due to unforseen bottlenecks.

However, I am yet to have a client get a new PC and tell me it has not created a significant step forward in productivity.

Another point is that across the thousands of computers we support, we see computers in their fourth, fifth and sixth years of service create significantly higher support loads for IT staff. This also amounts to more unproductive time for your staff as they wait for IT issues to be resolved.

So, in short, the smart money is on replacing those Windows XP machines as quickly as possible before they have further negative financial impact on your business.

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.

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