At one time or another, we’ve all have had that worn out, but oh-so-comfortable pair of shoes. That over-stuffed chair with the protruding springs. That rusted-out car that no longer runs like a charm, but carries so many great memories.
However attached we become to these and other personal items, there comes a time when they really must be replaced. The same goes for software. If you don’t regularly upgrade your business software, you’ll inevitably pay a steep price in the form of escalating maintenance and support costs, slow performance, lowered productivity, and dangerous virus- and other security-related issues. And let’s face it—reminiscing about old software programs twenty or so years from now won’t bring about nearly half as many warm memories as that 1967 Pontiac Firebird of your youth.
You could say that updating business software is akin to changing your toothbrush after it’s seen better days. Can you imagine running Windows 98 on your home PC? Then why would you fight tooth and nail, stubbornly looking into a variety of contingency plans and options to hold onto Windows XP? Yes, it’s still as functional as an old pair of shoes and it’s done your business well, but the fact of the matter is that its shelf life is nearing its expiration date.
The XP era draws to a close
Microsoft will stop supporting the popular third-generation technology on April 8, 2014, spelling an end to updates, fixes and other related services. These are only a few of the drawbacks to hanging on. Others include:
- Missing out on powerful new features included with such programs as Windows 7, Windows 8 and Office 365
- Wasting exponentially higher amounts of time and money on custom Microsoft or third-party service and support for a system that doesn’t enable you to perform your job faster, easier or better than its replacement
- Leaving your aging, unpatched systems at the mercy of opportunistic hackers conspiring to bring your business down for fun or profit
If it’s any consolation, you’re in good company. Windows XP, currently running on about 38 percent of the world's 1.5 billion computers, remains the world’s second most popular operating system . That aside, the need to regularly upgrade all business software simply makes good business sense. Not only does the practice maximize business efficiency and individual worker productivity; it’s an essential element from a security perspective.