by Lowell Davis
By now you’ve probably read or heard the news that Microsoft will be ending support for Windows XP in April of 2014. While many offices have moved on to a more modern operating system there are still a significant number taking the “if it ain’t broke….” approach and have stayed with the tried and true software that originally became available in 2001.
If you are among those still using Windows XP you’re probably asking why you need to make the jump to a new version of Windows. There are several answers to that question.
- Think of what things were like “way back” in 2001 when XP was released. Many people were still using dial-up Internet. The first smartphones had just become available. There were an estimated 50 million Internet users who could access 40 million websites. Today it is projected that 1 billion smartphones will be sold in 2013. There are 2.7 billion Internet users accessing 640 million websites. With these changes to the cyber landscape the need for security has increased tremendously. More modern versions of the Windows operating system have significantly more robust security controls to protect you.
- Even if things are working fine today, when Microsoft terminates their support for XP it will mean no new patches or critical security updates will be released. This will leave your network open to hackers and malware. New driver releases for hardware will no longer be issued which means getting new printers, video cards, etc. may not work with your existing computers. New applications and software from everywhere in the world of technology will not be tested to be compatible with XP.
- Perhaps most importantly your practice is required to comply with HIPAA and, if you accept payment by credit cards, you must also comply with PCI standards. PCI Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) 6.1 require you to “ensure all system components and software have the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed. Deploy critical patches within a month of release”. Obviously once Microsoft stops releasing patches and updates you will be unable to do this. HIPAA regulations are similar to the PCI standards in this area. HIPAA Security Rule section 164.308(a)(5)(ii)(B) states that you must implement “procedures for guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software”. Once again, if you can’t update your computer against malicious software it is impossible to be in compliance with this security rule specification.
If you’re among the group still using Windows XP don’t wait until the very last minute to plan your move to a new version of Windows – now is the time! Protect your valuable information and your office by updating to Windows 8. Contact your Systems Consultant at (800) 678-4644 or a member of the Ortho2 Equipment Support Team (800) 346-4504, Option 2 to discuss the best path forward to make the switch.
About the Author
Lowell has been with Ortho2 since 1998 when he was hired as a Software Support Representative. He traveled to many offices and universities to assist in their transitions to ViewPoint before becoming the Equipment Support Manager in 2004. Lowell enjoys spending time with his family and two dogs, and he spends his free time coaching Little League, playing in various music groups, and immersing himself in the Chicago Cubs.