Windows support ends in April 2014: Decision time for Australian businesses

Millions of enterprise users will be left with no protection against new security vulnerabilities from April 8, when Microsoft stops supporting its Windows XP operating system.

Despite knowing the extraordinary risks, millions of PCs continue to run the XP operating system. In reality this is a massive 31.4 per cent of computers worldwide, according to Netmarketshare, and at least 10 per cent of all PCs in Australia, about 2.5 million.

So what about your PCs – are they still running on Windows XP? If so, you need to take action now to make sure your business is fully prepared for the ‘end of life’ as you know it. With time rapidly running out, it pays to know your options:

1.  Continue to run Windows XP after April

To those planning to stick with the Windows XP operating system even after Microsoft ends support, my advice is simple: don’t do it.

When XP support ends, Microsoft will no longer invest any resources to maintain or update it. This has huge implications for business users. You will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.

Sure, Windows XP will still continue to work just as well as it has for the past decade – your computers won’t suddenly crash – but every day that passes once Windows XP support expires means new vulnerabilities that your PC will be exposed to. Malware, viruses, worms, data breaches, theft of critical business data accessible on unsupported systems; these attacks will strike repeatedly against your operating systems and there’s very little you can do to protect them.

2. Upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.0

 Another option is to get an upgrade path to either Windows 7 or Windows 8. Sounds simple enough, but for some businesses this option presents some hurdles. You might find that some applications will not run under later versions of Windows. The migration is simply too big. You also may need to invest in new hardware to support a new operating system. And without the right technical expertise and guidance, the migration can be disruptive to business as usual.

The good news is Interlinked Pacific can help. As a Microsoft Certified Partner, we are able to automate application compatibility, test to ensure the right provisioning, reduce the time taken to deploy new desktops, and manage upgrades on PCs, laptops and tablets. But any plans to migrate from XP to Windows 7 or 8 at this stage should be acted on quickly – time is running out.

But before you make your decision, there is another way…

3. Cloud-hosted Desktops as a Service (DaaS)

Every end leads to a new beginning, and Microsoft’s end-of-support enables your organisation to take advantage of latest technology trends such as virtualisation and the cloud.

Rather an upgrade to Windows 8 for your on-premise computers, consider moving to virtual or hosted desktops – a user interface that connects applications and data from a secure data centre via an encrypted virtual private network.

With virtual or hosted desktops you can enjoy up to date systems all the time, with the added support and peace of mind of knowing your working data is stored in the cloud. This service is also known as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) because it allows your business to move from physical to a virtual desktop infrastructure.

Benefits of a hosted desktop

  • No need for new hardware: There’s no need to buy all new hardware. You can repurpose existing PCs to deliver employees cloud-hosted desktops, then you simply add new hardware as budget permits or needs arise.
  • Flexible connectivity: You can connect to your hosted desktop via a browser, thin client, or other handheld devices.
  • Fully Customisable: Applications (including Windows business applications) can be installed, preconfigured for each user and updated regularly.
  • Maximum Support: With Interlinked Pacific, hosted desktops are backed up by a 99.99% uptime guarantee and a dedicated help desk at a low monthly cost.
  • Lower running costs: Avoid costly desktop deployments, software installation, and backups associated with Windows operating systems. Instead, hosted desktops also allow you to replace capital expenditure with a low and predictable monthly payment.
  • Free up resources: Desktops also require ongoing management, which uses up valuable staff time. With hosted desktops, regular updates are done remotely and outside business hours so you can be sure your workforce (and productivity) is uninterrupted.
  • Scalability: With a hosted desktop, you can add users and increase storage almost instantly. For example, Interlinked Pacific’s cloud infrastructure has an extensive range of hardware and software resources to accommodate any expansion within minutes.

On top of all this, hosted desktops are continuously monitored and updated, meaning you will run the latest software all the time.

Act now

The decision is simple. A failure to migrate may lead to more serious security issues after the support runs out. Don’t waste any more time – speak to Interlinked for advice on migrating your systems today.