Has Your Small Business Planned For a Future After Windows XP?
The Windows XP Expiration
An amazing 40% of PC's are reported to be running Windows XP. This equates to 600 million PCs that urgently need to be upgraded by April 2014.
Windows XP will reach end of life on the 8th April 2014. To non technical people this means Microsoft will stop providing patches and updates for Windows XP after this date. So, it is now vital that your business starts to look at upgrade options.
You could upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. This is a required update if you wish to continue to use Microsoft Office. As the latest version of Microsoft Office will only run on Windows 7 and Windows 8. This is a costly option with your business needing to buy both expensive Windows and Office licenses. In addition to the hidden cost of change management and new hardware needed to run these new versions.
Organisations that still run Windows XP after April 2014 need to ensure that their machines do not compromise valuable organisation data or sensitive consumer data. Gartner, June 2012
Deploying Google Apps on your current Windows XP desktop platform can leverage the impending Windows XP expiration to jump start a business IT transformation.
Modernise Your Current Windows XP Desktop
With Windows XP end of life on the horizon you have a unique opportunity to modernise your current IT systems, as part of your overall migration strategy. The modernisation process starts with identifying XP machines that will not be upgraded by 8th April 2014, and hardening them. Hardening usually involves locking down the OS, then enforcing network and perimeter security for these computers.
After these Windows XP machines have been secured. Google Chrome can be deployed. Google Chrome is the only modern web browser available for Windows XP that allows your employees to get the best modern web experiences in a secure environment. If you have any applications that require Internet Explorer 6 Chrome's legacy mode will let you continue to use these systems just like before.
Deploying Chrome on XP and locking down the OS allowed us to mitigate the impending "XP end of life" while giving our user the best web experience. Hans Ghekiere, Data Architect, Avery Dennison
The Chrome Browser brings significant benefits to your workforce. It is fully supported on XP, providing the latest web experience without upgrading. And, since Chrome is ubiquitous, it provides a seamless consistent experience across any device, detaching your users from a specific operating system or machine, allowing them to work from any device securely. In fact 1 in 3 young professionals today chose their employer based on the tools they use, instead of salary.
Liberate Your Data
The next step is to leverage Google's cloud to liberate your data. In other words, store your data securely in Google's servers, making it accessible to your employees from anywhere and on any device.
With Google Drive installed your company now has the option to migrate from Windows XP to any other operating system with ease. Google Drive will automatically sync your data to any device. You could explore the benefits and cost savings of BYOD (Bring your own device).
Google Drive has support for over 30 different file types. Including legacy Windows XP and Microsoft Office files. Which means you can carry on using these files without the need for Windows XP or Microsoft Office to be present.
The Operating System Life Cycle
Here's a typical desktop migration process at a high level. Often, when you deploy a new OS, you will deploy new applications like Office as well. It typically consists of backing up and restoring employees data, a full desktop refresh, remediation testing, and it always involves a support nightmare with frustrated users. In this current paradigm, you will have to do this cycle again in 4-5 years.
With Google Apps, the cycle breaks. You leverage our change management experts to shift the focus from a desktop migration to an innovation project, introducing Google Apps as a change agent to drive enhanced innovation and productivity within your organisation. In as little as 30 days, Google Apps can be deployed to your end users with our change management experts guiding the process.
You can leverage the features of Google Apps to smooth the transition to new operating systems because the user interface is consistent and all data is synchronised. This decouples you from historical OS/Application dependencies, and provides your organisation with instant modernisation of your current platform. Moving forward, remediation testing becomes easier, hardware refreshes have little impact, and you will experience a much lower total cost of ownership.
What Can You Do Today?
To get a jump start and plan for life after Windows XP we would recommend you start downloading and installing Google Chrome
for free onto your Windows XP machines. Getting your staff use to Google Chrome will make the move to Google Apps and any other operating system much easier as the user interface will remain consistent.
If you would like to learn more about what you should be doing now in preparation for the end of Windows XP and what you can do to ease the transitional period, please contact us today and see how we can help you.