About 40 percent of business desktops are still running Windows XP, just one year before the absolute cut-off date for Microsoft support, according to new figures.
The venerable Windows XP platform, launched way back in 2001, has already reached the end of its lifecycle, with Microsoft committed only to providing fixes for security flaws, and only then up until 8 April 2014.
Beyond this date, businesses will be running an unsupported platform and there will be no patches for any issues that may come to light unless customers are prepared to pay for custom support from Microsoft.
However, research commissioned by application migration specialist Camwood found that two out of five UK IT decision makers have yet to even begin a migration to a more modern platform, despite Microsoft flagging up this deadline for many years now.
For organisations such as these, it may already be too late to meet the support deadline, as Microsoft recommends that customers should allow for a migration project to take between 18 and 32 months to run its course from proposal through to full deployment.
Perhaps inevitably, one in five of respondents indicated that they plan to continue using Windows XP beyond the support cut-off date, despite the risks that this may pose.
Cost and complexity are typically the prime reasons quoted for holding back from migration projects, and the problem appears to be with business leaders rather than the IT department; according to Camwood's research, 23 percent of respondents said they have not started on an XP migration because they have been asked not to.
"The message that Microsoft is switching off the lights for Windows XP is being received loud and clear by the IT community but it would appear that the business doesn't understand the perils of remaining on XP after 8 April 2014," said Camwood chief executive Adrian Foxall.
These perils are not restricted to potential security threats, but may also see the organisation fail an IT audit and fall foul of official corporate governance regulations.
For those who are still running XP, the choice is stark: begin a migration to Windows 7 or Windows 8, or be prepared to pay Microsoft for custom support.
Neither choice is likely to be palatable, as figures from Gartner suggest that Microsoft custom support is likely to cost at least $200,000 for the first year, even if a firm has a Software Assurance agreement.
Meanwhile, Gartner estimates that the cost of migrating from XP to Windows 7 will be upwards of $1,274 per desktop. Ironically, this is said to be three times the cost of migrating from XP to Windows Vista, from which an upgrade to Windows 7 would now be relatively painless.
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