On April 8, 2014, all support for Windows XP/Office 2003 will be discontinued from Microsoft.

If you are still using Windows XP or Office 2003, you must make a plan to get off of these ASAP! This is especially true in dental and medcial practices where you must comply with both HIPAA and PCI compliance.

The end of a long overdue era is here. Microsoft has announced that all support for these products is ending on April 8, 2014. We know that sounds far away, but it’s not when you think about the time involved to research, plan and execute a strategy to move you off of XP/Office 2003 before the deadline.

Since every practice runs credit cards and needs to comply with PCI (Payment Card Industry) you will need to upgrade. You may be thinking what this end of life has to do with PCI compliance. It is stated in PCI DSS Requirement 6.1 that all system components and software are protected from known vulnerabilities by having the latest vendor-supplied security patches installed. Unfortunately, you will be unable to do this on Windows XP once Microsoft stops creating security patches in April 2014.

With HIPAA this is even more of an issue because a breach can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in fines, remediation and lost revenue. The same thought process with PCI mentioned in the previous paragraph is mentioned by HIPAA under Administrative, Physical and Technical Safeguards. Without the latest in security patches, you can no longer ensure your system is up to date to protect it from the vulnerabilities. A recent study showed that you can cut your risk of getting malicious software on your network by 80% if you are up to date on all security patches.

“What will happen if I don’t move off of Windows XP or Office 2003 before the deadline?

A lot of people are asking us what will actually happen if they don’t get off before April 8, 2014. You can expect:

There will be no more new patches or critical security updates released for the XP (Microsoft has publicly stated this), which will leave your network open to hackers and malware. Undoubtedly, malware writers and hackers will take advantage of all remaining XP users after this date.
Microsoft will no longer offer any technical support for Windows XP, and the industry will follow. New applications and software will not be tested to work on XP, nor will they support it.
Say “goodbye to driver releases for XP for new hardware! Trying to connect things like printers or video cards will be next to impossible
You will not be able to use any new hardware or software since you will run into many compatibility problems
The bottom line? Continuing to use XP after April 2014 is a scary “at your own risk scenario!

How do I make the move off of XP and Office 2003?

It can be an intimidating task to come up with a solid strategy to move your company off of the twelve-year-old system, and there is so much to consider. That’s where SurfCT can help – we’ve helped many people formulate and put into action a plan to move them off of XP.

The different applications that you use and what versions of Windows they are compatible with.
The current hardware and software you have: what can be re-used, what needs to be replaced, what’s compatible, and what’s not.
Your business goals for not just the next few months, but the next few years, and how technology can help you get there.
The training plan for your employees on the new systems they’ll be using.
The step-by-step plan for getting your company onto newer technology.
Of course, your budget for the upgrade and different ways to get the results you want and need.

Need Help Moving Off XP?

Contact SurfCT for additional assistance.