Over three quarters (77 per cent) of UK organizations will have Windows XP running somewhere in their IT estate after the April 8th end of support deadline, according to AppSense. 68 per cent of organizations had no plans to pay for extended support despite repeated warnings about the vulnerability of the 12 year-old operating system to exploits and malware.
The survey, of 100 UK IT decision makers, also suggested that while Windows XP is still present in the majority of organizations, it is very much in the minority in terms of penetration with these businesses. 87 per cent of those surveyed had less than 25 per cent of desktop estate still running Windows XP, while on average it is estimated that overall penetration of the operating system is just under 13 per cent.
The survey also highlighted that 84 per cent of XP users planned to have totally migrated from the platform within the next 12 months, suggesting that there is a willingness to move but on an organizations own terms. However, of those not paying for extended support, 70 per cent of respondents were either not very or not at all concerned about security after April’s cut-off date.
“There seems to be a lack of concern amongst UK organizations around the possible dangers of running XP after April 8th,” said Simon Townsend, Chief Technologist, AppSense EMEA. “Part of the reason for lack of concern would appear to be the low level of dependency currently on the XP operating system. While it is still present in many organizations, the numbers would suggest that it is very much on the periphery.
“It might be the case that an XP machine is running a print server, or some other application which is not entirely obvious. The reality is though, that one machine could potentially put an entire network at risk and without adequate protection it could be a step into the unknown for UK businesses.
“While it’s clear that organizations are committed to getting off the Windows XP platform in the medium term, they are opening their organizations to potential threats by leaving systems unsupported. This figure also suggests that organizations want to get the migration process right and will not be rushed as they head towards a deadline. From my experience and involvement with organizations to date, the priority is getting off Windows XP, but many are still planning or are unsure about how to progress. It’s a balancing act between planning the migration, but also protecting whilst you migrate.”
“As with most commercial software, Windows XP has had a long history of security vulnerabilities and exploits, so the apparent lack of concern around the platform following the end of official support is surprising,” said Bob Tarzey, Analyst and Director with Quocirca. “Windows XP will still be vulnerable to Zero Day exploits, so continuing to use the operating system without any support arrangement is risky.
“Windows XP has been a victim of its own success. It has proved to be a solid, stable and very widely used operating system and as a result it is deeply rooted in the many businesses. However, the time has come to move on from technology that is well over a decade old update to more recent systems.”