Small businesses: Stay safe, get up to date before Windows XP, Office 2003 support ends April 8

The workplace has changed – we’re all more mobile and more social, and to stay competitive, small businesses need the right tools to compete. If businesses are running Windows XP or Office 2003 after April 8, they not only won’t have the right tools, but they run the risk of falling victim to malware because security updates and support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will cease.

That’s why it’s important for small businesses to upgrade their technologies to Windows 8.1 and Office 365 now, before April 8. Ending support doesn’t mean that as of April 8 Windows XP and Office 2003 will suddenly stop working. However, there will be no more security updates or technical support for Windows XP, which may lead to serious problems, including:

Higher costs and lower productivity. Reducing operating costs and improving employee productivity are among the top business priorities of small businesses. So it’s not surprising that 47 percent of small businesses said that lack of budget is a big reason they don’t replace older PCs, despite frequent issues and lost productivity (Techaisle, 2013). However, replacing older PCs and getting current on Windows and Office will likely cost less in the long run. According to the same report, small businesses are spending an average of $427 on repairs for PCs that are four years or older, not to mention hours of lost productivity while troubleshooting issues.

Exposure to security and compliance risks. Security is, of course, a huge concern for all businesses. Unsupported and unpatched computers are vulnerable to security risks. In fact, a recent report by Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing team showed that Windows XP is five times more susceptible to viruses and attacks than Windows 8.1.

Lack of new apps. After April 8, app developers and independent solution vendors that build solutions for Windows XP won’t issue any updates for existing apps, and they won’t build new solutions either. In other words, whatever solutions are on your current Windows XP, that’s essentially it in terms of new features or other advancements. Your PCs won’t evolve with changing customer, market and competitive demands.

A recent study by Techaisle, a global analyst and research organization for small and medium businesses and channel partners, found that businesses using outdated technology on just three PCs spend an average of $1,683 a year on maintenance and upgrade costs above and beyond an up-to-date PC, and that an average of 42 hours of productivity is lost per employee, per year because of older PCs needing repairs.

“Technology has evolved rapidly over the past several years — hardware is cheaper, operating systems are faster, cellphones are smarter, cloud services are affordable and workforces are mobile,” said Thomas Hansen, vice president of Worldwide Small and Medium Business at Microsoft. “Small businesses using old technologies are missing an opportunity — from better protecting their data and reputation to being able to acquire and serve customers better. The good news is that upgrading to newer technology has never been easier.”

For tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy businesses alike, upgrading is easy — provided they know where to turn for help. Here are two ways to upgrade:

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About Doru Somcutean

Hello, my name is Somcutean Doru and I'm from Romania.

I really like to read reviews and see what's new about technology, on D-BLOG I share with you articles/reviews that I find interesting. I also write some reviews in romanian...

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