Microsoft have announced that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Office 2003 will be reaching end of support in April 2014. At Brandstar we want to help you avoid the risk of running an unsupported version of Windows & Office, and to assist with your IT planning for the future.
With this in mind, the objective of this Blog Post is to highlight the potential risks involved with the upcoming end of support of these products and to outline the options available to mitigate these risks.
What is the situation and potential risk?
Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will no longer be supported from April 8, 2014 onwards. After this date, Microsoft will not provide any public support for these products, including security patches, non-security hotfixes or incident support.
Running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:
Security & Compliance Risks – Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information
Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Support – A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common”. And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware OEMs will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models. See Creating a Timeline for Deploying Windows 7 and Eliminating Windows XP SP3, June 2011.
What are the available options?
1. Upgrade – This option affords customers the best return on investment by deploying a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010. Whether you’re a small business or the largest corporation with offices worldwide, moving to a modern PC with Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010 offers your business the ability to improve productivity for your employees and increase operational efficiency through improved PC security and management.
To help customers with the migration/deployment process, Microsoft and our consulting partners offer several options including proof of concept (POC) and production pilot programs, available through Microsoft Consulting Services or one of our Certified Service Partners, to help you achieve a successful upgrade to Windows 7 Enterprise and Office 2010.
2. (Not realistic for Home and Small Business Users) Purchase a Custom Support contract through Premier Support to stay on unsupported products – If, for any reason, you decide to remain on Windows XP SP3 or Office 2003 after support ends, you have the option to purchase Custom Support. As a condition of buying a Custom Support contract, you must have a Premier Support agreement and we ask our customers to have a migration plan in place. The cost of Custom Support is significantly higher than regular support, and rises annually due to the rising costs of supporting a legacy product.
3. Do nothing – Microsoft recommends customers avoid this option for it can put you at risk of potential security and compliance issues.