Maximizing Connectivity & Productivity

Mitigating Windows XP Security Risks

Microsoft ended support for the 12 year old operating system XP on April 8/2014.  This unleashed a whole new era of potential problems in the teach world and companies, because of the surprising high number of XP machines out there.  Ending support meant that there would be no more security updates or tech support from Microsoft.  In addition, all versions of Internet explorer for XP became unsupported.

Many enterprises have more than 15% of their systems running XP as their endpoint, which leaves a big security gap in the healthcare and utilities sector.  Many banks still have their systems running the unsupported XP operating system in their ATM, and back offices.  It is a known fact that Windows XP is five times more susceptible to malware and cyber-attacks than Windows 8.

Despite all these risks involved why have companies or organizations held back from migrating to newer operating systems?  After meeting with a few companies and speaking with a few stake holders I have concluded that some of the reasons organisations have not yet migrated varies from budgetary concerns to lack of internal expertise and manpower, or even underestimated migration timelines.  One of the reasons that stand out is that many organisations still use legacy applications which can only run on the old XP operating system.   Hospitals and some CAD service providers complain that they are not migrating or upgrading, because drivers are not available for the expensive equipment that they have.

Whatever the reason, many organisations are having a problem with their migration projects, and because the use of XP in the office environment is so widespread, a few organisations will miss a few systems on their network, and this will cause a security breach one way or the other.

Here are a couple of best practices which may help reduce the risk involved, if you still have these unsupported XP systems  on your network.

 Best Practices

  •  Take stock of all your endpoints on your network
  •  Make a note of all your  legacy application
  •  Configure the XP systems to Block or restrict network access
  •  Do not use Internet Explorer and Office 2003 on XP machines
  •  Make sure all software and security applications up-to-date
  •  Reconfigure and lock down service ports on XP systems
  •  Have a plan in place for any future XP exploitation
  •  Finally be prepared by creating a migration strategy and migrate as soon as possible

  Contact NETLOGISTIX for a solution that will help eliminate or mitigate risk.

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