— Brought to you by the 2X Cloud Computing Team

XP EOL has created the most recent buzz in IT circles. According to Microsoft, the company stopped support XP after April 8, 2014. While most of the large enterprises have migrated to a higher version, there are certain businesses that still use XP on their machines. According to the Gartner report, 15% of enterprise businesses will still be using XP on at least 10% of their business machines. Here are certain challenges that result from using the XP EOL.

Security issues

With XP support coming to an end in April 2014, XP machines will not receive any updates, patches, or security fixes. Without proper security in place, your PC becomes vulnerable to malware, spyware, and viruses. Cybercriminals will eagerly await the EOL date to rampantly attack vulnerable XP machines. Even if you do not connect your PC to the Internet, any affected system within the network can infect your machine. At the same time, antivirus products will not be offering full support.

Independent software vendor support

Without Microsoft supporting XP, software products that are designed to run on XP machines will lose their support as well because they cannot receive XP updates. For instance, Firefox 12 was the last version that supported machines with XP service pack 2 and earlier. After the XP EOL, your browser might stop supporting XP, putting your web browsing experience at risk. Moreover, innovative web technologies will no longer be offered for your PC.

Hardware support

Another area of concern for XP owners is driver support for the newly installed hardware. With XP reaching its EOL, hardware manufacturers will stop supporting XP on their hardware. New products or updated ones will not run on XP machines. When you install or reinstall Windows, finding updated drivers can become a problem.

Compliance issues

Businesses that deal with critical data often require compliance with data regulatory guidelines issued by the governing authorities. For instance, health institutions record sensitive data and are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). With unsupported XP machines, it is not possible to comply with such guidelines.

Technologically backward

Ever-innovating technology produces new software that is fast and more efficient. All new software requires a high-end OS, and XP users will be losing out on these new technologies. Be it touch-enabled devices, high resolution monitors, or Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, XP machines cannot optimally work with these newer technologies. With limited support for these features, businesses would definitely lose on productivity, which in turn results in decreased revenue.

Hidden costs

While you may believe it is an expensive move to migrate to a newer version of Windows, running your business processes on a 12-year-old OS that runs on an older system can result in maintenance costs. With security vulnerabilities and frequent downtimes, you would have to spend more money on technical support while getting a hit on SLAs and revenue.

While it is a good option to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8, there are several users who still use Windows XP. Certain business applications might require XP, or you might have your own reasons to retain XP. However, it is important to understand the risks associated with using XP after its EOL date. Using a VDI environment is a good alternative. Though Microsoft will not support the Windows XP mode on virtual machines after April 8, 2014, it reduces the risk.

For businesses that still run Windows XP, 2X offers a unique solution. With several years of rich experience in delivering highly scalable and secure VDI solutions, 2X has come up with a new and innovative product, 2X LifeCyclePlus, which is specifically designed to convert XP machines into a thin client . By replacing the Windows shell (desktop) with a 2X client, this new product enables you to configure local applications and securely perform administrative tasks. Going forward, you would be able to manage these tasks directly from the 2X Remote Application Server Client Management Module.

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