The end of support for XP by Microsoft will see a rise in the adoption of “bring your own device” policies.
According to EY, with 20-30 per cent of the world still running XP, despite Microsoft ending support in a month, BYOD could be a quick solution to the problem. Mark Brown, director of information security at EY, said: “Hackers will use this as an opportunity to take advantage of those organisations that have not got their ‘house in order’. Far too many businesses are asleep at the wheel over this issue and this could mean valuable consumer data could be at risk.
“BYOD potentially offers a fast track to upgrading outdated systems as employees, who tend to be using newer operating systems at home, can thus increase the levels of protection provided to a business’ IT system. However, this will bring new challenges and risk as it moves away from safer traditional enterprise IT platforms.”
Commenting, TK Keanini, CTO of Lancope, said that he welcomed the move to end support for XP and said that everyone proactively removing Windows XP from their connected networks is doing the internet as a whole a good service.
“Now that we are always connected to the internet, we can no longer base our decision making in isolation, we must always consider the threat. Now that businesses, organisations and consumers are all connected to the internet, the threat becomes a business problem and should be represented well at every business decision,” he said.
“When you think about this situation as a process, and not a thing, it is much easier to understand. Being secure is a process much like evolution: organisms thrive and some die, the remaining shape the survival of the species and it grows more resilient to its hostile environment. It is in this constant change that we find balance and in this case, XP is about to stop evolving so while it will die at the organism level, the species called Windows thrives and is much more resilient in the form of Windows 8.1.”
Troy Gill, senior security analyst at AppRiver, said: “XP is one of the most targeted Operating Systems connected to the internet, which will make it an enormous liability without regular updates.
“In addition to a decreased focus on patching of XP applications, there will be those companies who will no longer support those applications at all, which could disrupt business operations. Organisations should plan accordingly so that there are no surprises that affect their mission-critical software.
“If you’re still using Windows XP this time next year, the only excuse is that you simply can’t upgrade. That is the reality for many entities still relying on applications in their operations that are married to XP by design. Unfortunately, that is the reality for much of, the health care industry as many providers are using equipment that works exclusively with Windows XP. The good news is that most of these machines are not connected to the Internet (huge sigh of relief), but it’s still a risk.”
“BYOD is very mature today and extremely popular amongst consumers,” says Nigel Seddon, area director at LANDESK. “Over a third of workers have purchased a device for work, and almost a third of these have spent at least £500 over the last five years on their devices. This clearly saves IT departments a great deal. However, they need to ensure that they have visibility of these devices and can support them cost-effectively without compromising security, but there are clear financial benefits to be considered.”