In case you haven’t heard Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003 in April of 2014. What this means is that Microsoft will no longer patch security vulnerabilities discovered in XP or Office 2003, and therefore there will be security holes discovered that can be exploited by hackers which will never be fixed. My personal opinion is that in practical terms within a few months users of XP will be wide open to exploits by hackers. Potentially, they will be able to steal your data or take control of your PC and there will be nothing you will be able to do about it! For most organisations this represents an unacceptable level of risk. If you haven’t already started your move off Windows XP, you should – immediately!
If you haven’t already migrated off XP, and are planning your migration effort I would suggest that you do take some of Ovum’s advice and don’t just do a like for like replacement of Windows XP and Office 2003 with Windows 7 (or 8) and Office 2010 (or 2013). Instead take stock of your entire end user computing environment and see if you can move to something more nimble, flexible and responsive to your users’ needs. Consider embracing mobility and replace laptops with tablets and smartphones. Think about desktop virtualisation and thin devices rather than traditional PCs. Supplement traditional enterprise applications with cloud based ones and potentially do away with the desktop altogether. Explore BYOD as a way of replacing part of your corporate fleet with employee’s consumer laptops. Or, perhaps some combination of all of these.
What is your organisation doing about XP? I’d love to hear!
If you are embarking on a Windows XP replacement, the New Zealand government has published an desktop reference architecture which might help you and is freely available.