From 8th April 2014, there will be no security updates, content updates or support options for Windows XP, SP3, Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8 or Office 2003. But what does this mean for your school and your internet safety?
Windows XP is an old operating system, but it has been supported by Microsoft for the last 13 years, but this support will now run out. This means that after April 8th Microsoft will no longer fix any security bugs in Windows XP as they have done in the past.
This leaves your data, information and files open to hacking attempts or viruses. This is a particularly pertinent issue for schools due to the risk of sensitive information about school children being discovered.
There are several risks you should be aware of:
- Data loss and data theft – this can result in fines by the ICO under the Data Protection Act
- Potential for personal details of both children and staff to be made public
- Damage to the software on the PCs requiring costly repairs
Although any anti-virus software you have installed will help it will not fully mitigate the risk. Once Windows XP support has finished, the only way to ensure your ICT is fully secure is to upgrade your operating system.
What should we upgrade to?
Windows 7 is considered an effective upgrade from Windows XP and will be supported until January 2020. Windows 8 will be supported until 2023 and provides the most up-to-date and robust version of your operating system. However there are significant changes to the appearance of Windows 8 which may mean most users will require training.
You may also want to take the opportunity to consider updating your hardware at the same time, so as to benefit fully from the new operating system. Having a new operating system on an old computer will provide you with full security but you may not experience some of the new functions of the upgrade.
This may all seem a bit daunting and technical but it is important you consider it properly to ensure the safety of your school online. We are here to help. If you decide to change your software and/or your hardware Educate can use our range of experts to provide technical assistance, project management and market experience to provide your school with the most appropriate action plan and identify the best value for money solution.
If any computers in your school browse the internet on an out-of-date browser such as Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8, your school ICT is open to further serious security risks – send your IT manager to this article to find out more.
If you would like to get in touch with us about your school’s computer system contact Tom on email@example.com or on 0207 6051653.