Last summer I discovered why my brother-in-law couldn’t properly stream Netflix to his TV. It turned out the router he had bought wasn’t compatible with his Windows XP PC.
When I explained to him Windows XP reached EOL (End of Life) status four months earlier and warned him of the risks he faced if he didn’t upgrade, he didn’t hesitate. That same afternoon he went to Walmart and bought a Dell running Windows 8.1. He hadn’t been aware of the problem because he uses his PC mostly to check email and browse the occasional website. Most businesses, however, can’t use ignorance as an excuse.
After all, Microsoft has been telling its customers for several years that April 8, 2014 would be XP’s EOL. But according to several recent articles and studies, Windows XP use still hovers around 15-20% for most enterprises and smaller businesses. The Net Applications study shows a 6.7% drop from September to October 2014, but that still means at least one in eight businesses still rely on Windows XP to run their computers.
The problem with any organization clinging to Windows XP goes beyond how it could affect its security. In his April TechRepublic article, Windows XP use declining, but millions still willingly at risk, journalist Tony Bradley writes that based on statistics dating back to 2013, it could take at least two more years before Windows XP is finally extinct:
Those who ignore the mountain of warnings and continue to use Windows XP do so at their own risk. Unfortunately, their risk is also our risk, because compromised systems end up in botnets, distributing spam, or hosting and distributing malware. Continuing to use Windows XP on the public Internet is akin to going out in public with an active virus and coughing on people.
So what’s the holdup?
- Application incompatibility
- Deployment issues on the server side
- Remote servers and storage issues
- WAN bandwidth issues
- Lack of time
- User training
It’s understandable. You are so busy handling day-to-day responsibilities that it’s hard to focus on something so transformative as an updated OS, particularly when the current one is adequate. It handles the tasks of most of your employees. It runs the apps you’ve depended on for years. Most of you are probably thinking, If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
The problem, of course, is that XP will break, and it’ll do so in ways no one can anticipate. The best analogy I’ve heard was by a guy I interviewed a year or so ago. He said that no one wants to get their oil or their tires changed. It’s a hassle, and it costs money. However, it’s much less of a hassle to pay the $60 to change your oil every few months than pay $2,000 because your engine threw a rod.
Have any thoughts or experiences to share about your migration? Please share in the comments or on Twitter!