Do you have Windows XP on your business computers? If you do, be aware that Microsoft ends support for XP on April 8, 2014. (For those running Windows XP embed on its enterprise system, support will last a little longer.) What is the big deal about XP’s end of life? It doesn’t mean all PCs running XP will shut down on April 8. Rather, Microsoft will no longer send system security updates to protect against vulnerabilities. One source estimates that the number of existing XP users ranges from one quarter to one-third of the PC population, which equates to roughly 500 million PCs. For hackers, Christmas is coming early this year.
Another consideration with XP’s support expiring is how it impacts PCI compliance. So if your business continues to use an XP-based POS system after April 7, you will be violating PCI DSS 6.2, which requires retailers to install the latest security patches. Contact your POS vendor to see if they updated the software or are planning to update. At a minimum, while you are considering your options, place all your financial records and personal records in an offline PC or hard drive and keep it secured. If you don’t have more than one PC or you are unable to secure your records in an offline drive, then disconnect your computers from the Internet until you are able to address this major change. Additionally, check the Microsoft support site for directions to upgrade from XP.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your PC vulnerable to hackers. It’s difficult enough to secure personal and business data without giving criminals an open invitation to your information.
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