In just over 60 days Microsoft’s XP operating system will officially reach the end of its life. There had been rumors of this for the past several years but last year Microsoft finally announced they would be ending support for XP on April 8, 2014. This means they will no longer be providing updates, patches, or technical assistance to any XP operating system (OS) or unit running that OS.
Your only options past the deadline are to 1) upgrade your XP OS to either Vista (yuck!), Windows 7, or Microsoft’s latest installment Windows 8.1. This is advantageous to many retailers, because many systems running XP may not be suitable to upgrade to a new OS and will likely need to be replaced entirely. This can only mean a boost in hardware sales and most definitely software sales.
The above issues are not just going to affect the average user; these changes will be felt throughout the business world as well. Continuing use of XP in either environment makes your network significantly more vulnerable to viruses and other security risks. Failure to update your OS’s or hardware will lead to definite compliance risks and will result in an officially recognized control failure by any internal or external auditor. Such a failure can lead to a suspension of certifications, and/or a public notification of your organizations inability to maintain its systems and customer information.
The financial industry is one of the largest concerns at the moment because it had been estimated that XP operated on roughly 95% (95 PERCENT!) of the world’s ATM’s. XP runs on the units in the background and the ATMs software runs within that, to be clear. In the US alone there are over 420,000 ATM’s that will be left vulnerable and out of compliance as of April 8th.
Even major banks are falling behind and having to make contingency plans until they can catch up. The largest ATM supplier in the US, NCR, says that most ATM’s will be moving to Windows 7, but only 15 percent of those ATM’s will be updated by the April 8th deadline. JPMorgan Chase is spending additional money on custom support contracts from Microsoft for an additional year of support to extend the time frame for deployment of Windows 7. A few thousand of JPMorgan’s machines will need to be replaced entirely, or have “enhancements” made in order to properly run Windows 7.
With all of the attention toward software and hardware upgrades it can be easy to forget the importance of properly disposing of the retired units, and securely containing and destroying the data from the teller units. It is crucial that financial institutions take all of these aspects into consideration in order to avoid compliance issues and potential data breaches. Hackers and data thieves are going to be giving special attention to these institutions during this time because they have had time to prepare and see this as an opportunity for low hanging fruit.
Don’t let your company be the next Target. Before you begin the upgrades make sure your process is covered from end to end. To learn more about TechR2’s products and services and ways we can help contact us today!
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