Countdown to Windows XP shutdown: Dutch government joins UK in extension

At the time of writing, there is 13 hours, 52 minutes and 48 seconds left to go before Microsoft officially stops support for Windows XP – and still, many people are leaving it to the last minute.

The Dutch news site Webwerald reports that the country’s government has joined the UK premiership by shelling out between €6.8m and €8m on Windows XP support from Microsoft for another year. This works out at 34-40,000 PCs, with estimated support from Redmond hitting €200 per machine.

It’s another telling sign regarding how organisations even at the highest level are taking a laissez faire attitude to security.

But what else has come to light in the past few days? Enterprise mobility provider Fiberlink has released figures which show a distinct lack of motivation for businesses to migrate.

The survey results, from a sampling of one million laptops and desktops, show that 44% of businesses are still running Windows XP today, with less than 1% of that number onto Windows 8.

That’s a worrying number to say the least – but it’s worth noting that Microsoft isn’t shutting down everything tomorrow. Antimalware software for XP will continue to be updated, until July 14 2015, although Redmond was at pains to point out this was the only door they were keeping open.

At the time Enterprise AppsTech described it as an “act of kindness”, inferring it was the final, final warning. Yet, less than 24 hours from pulling the plug, the situation is grim for many companies.

Indeed, for smaller organisations it may easier to save money by backing things up and keeping the IT department on standby if things go seriously wrong.

But for Stephen Bonner, a partner in KPMG’s Information Protection & Business Resilience team, the landscape should be one of pragmatism than sheer naked terror.

“It is worth remembering just how much obsolete software resides on our desktops,” he explained. “A survey of Java versions on a million end points last year found many had multiple versions of Java installed. On average organisations ran over 50 different Java versions, and more than half the organisations surveyed had Java software running which was over 5 years old.”

Bonner advises people first and foremost to ‘learn some lessons about the importance of managing obsolescence, removing obsolete software, and remembering to secure those out of sight computers.’

Yet he believes the number of machines which use the 10-year-old OS will ‘remain stubbornly high for some time.’

“The picture is even more complex with XP still running on computers embedded in systems that are difficult to upgrade – the likes of ATM machines, kiosks, airline ticketing or military systems,” he said. “So XP will be with us for some time, and in some quite unexpected places – little wonder banks and governments are paying millions to extend support beyond April 8.”

 

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