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Does Your Agency Still Use XP?

March 28, 2014

What were you doing in January of 2000? photoPerhaps wiping your brow because you survived the Y2K non-pocalypse? Graduating from high school? Buying a new computer with the highly touted and much anticipated Windows XP? If you fall into the last category, you’ve probably long since replaced that computer with a newer, faster, fancier version. For many of us, however, those newer, faster, fancier computers still included Windows XP, or to avoid the Microsoft Vista mistake, we clung to XP with a powerful grip. Unfortunately for us (yes, I do have an XP computer at home!) Microsoft has announced that starting on April 8, 2014, they will no longer support this operating system.

Thousands of consumers, schools, and businesses, including insurance agents, are now faced with a difficult decision: do we update our operating systems, or do we save money and hope we don’t run into a security threat?

NDTV guesses that as many as 30% of the current marketplace runs Windows XP. What happens if we don’t upgrade? Security threats are the prime issue. All Windows XP computers will continue to run after April 8, but Microsoft will no longer release security updates for future bugs, viruses, malware, spyware, etc. This leaves a gaping hole and, according to the Insurance Journal, could leave an agency open to massive E&O claims if a breach occurs as many E&O liability policies require agencies to have updated software. This excellent commentary in USA Today gives recommendations for those of us still running XP after April 8. Among their suggestions, the following two are extra important:

  • Back up your files. While you should always be doing this on a regular basis, create a backup of all of your files and your computer by April 7. If anything happens, you’ll have an automatic restore point (if you create one) and your files will be intact if your computer is rendered inoperable.
  • Get antivirus software. There are tons of great ones out there; pick one and be sure it’s installed.

The article also recommends ditching Internet Explorer (IE) as your internet browser if you decide to keep XP. While WSRB makes no recommendations about IE or others, some new browsers can take time to learn. Be sure your staff has had adequate training on how to operate a new browser, and be sure to import your favorites!

It’s hard for some of us to remember life back in the year 2000…pre-smartphones, iPads, and Twitter. But the last vestiges of it still remain. At least until April 8!

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