Archive for February, 2014

Small Businesses Hit With $3 Billion Tab As Microsoft Ends XP Support

February 13, 2014

Many small businesses will be part of a $3 billion dollar decision.
That’s the estimated costs associated with the coming abandonment of support for XP software by Microsoft.
The technical giant is phasing out its support for the system used by an estimated 3.3 million small businesses on March 31, 2014.
Most of those companies using XP have less than 50 employees.
Enterprises currently using XP have two choices:
• Beef up security on current systems, or
• Purchase new equipment and/or software.
Either choice requires a cash outlay.
As our colleague, Dr. Kenneth E. Lehrer estimates, the total costs will run into the billions, not counting the expenditures in manpower and operational disruptions.
The Houston, TX economist based his analysis on the estimated 4.3 million small businesses currently running XP as their primary system. Assuming an average outlay of $600 for software and/or new equipment, this generated an estimated $3 billion in additional costs.
Likewise, for the Exchange 2003 the average cost is expected to be above $1000 per installation.
A recent survey of 1034 small businesses under 50 employees by my company, Information Strategies, indicated 78% ran their operations on XP platforms.
Of those queried, only 57% were highly aware of the impending loss of support from Microsoft.
As of mid-January, only 41% had plans or already implemented solutions. The majority 55% of those who already acted migrated to cloud-based solutions. 26% migrated to Windows 7 or 8. Interestingly, 11% moved to Apple products, primarily tablets.
With Microsoft not providing any more software updates to the Windows XP operating system, to cover all bases, smaller businesses should seek out a computer service company to have on call in case disaster strikes. If the computer does go belly up they’ll be forced to move onto the latest Windows operating system on a new computer.
At that point, it makes sense to move ahead to using the new operating system. If there are any costly legacy programs used from Windows XP, then a virtual software may be set up on the new computer to access such old software. That way, the best of both worlds are attained, a new operating system along with not paying again for expensive Windows XP software.
What will more likely happen is companies will accelerate their movement to the cloud for their operating support.
For a flat monthly fee, they will have all the technical support they need and not worry about such a problem in the future.
This also goes for those companies currently operating Exchange 2003 servers.
This adds to their angst at during a period of economic uncertainty.
With Microsoft lagging in the cloud sector, they are handing competitors a significant marketing advantage.
In the meantime, small businesses will suffer.