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Significant Industry Impacts from the death of Windows XP

Microsoft ended all support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. If your company hasn’t begun dealing with the death of XP, now is the time to act.

As of April, Windows XP accounted for 26% of operating system market share, making it still the second largest OS in the market. But with no more patches, vulnerability fixes or updates, cyber-attacks, data breaches and system insecurity will occur more frequently. Every day you stay on Windows XP OS is another day to put your business and its critical data at risk.

What Will Go Wrong and Why It Concerns You

Microsoft’s decision to halt support services for XP has already had an impact on adherents of the outdated OS. When the Internet Explorer vulnerability, which left millions of users at risk of a remote attack from hackers, was fixed in April with an out-of-cycle patch, Microsoft did extend an emergency update to XP. But when the fix was shored up in May’s regular Patch Tuesday update, XP was left hanging and unsupported.

Computer experts anticipate that trend to continue as Microsoft throws all its weight behind phasing out XP. The company’s latest Security Intelligence Report shows an infection rate for XP that’s over three times higher than that of Windows 8.1.

In the health-care realm, the writing is clearly on the wall with headlines like this one from “Running Windows XP mean you are non-compliant and open to liability. Per compliance with new HIPAA rules released in September 2013 is imperative for businesses that have any contact with electronic health records (EHR) or protected health information (PHI). Section 164.308(a) (5) (ii) (b) of the newly enhanced HIPAA Security Rule states that all businesses handling HER/EMR or PHI must have “procedures for guarding against, detecting, and reporting malicious software.”

So what’s the best plan of action to deal with the death of Windows XP?