The Importance of Upgrading From Windows XP

by Adam Tessener

If you’re still using Windows XP in your agency you are placing both your security and functionality at risk.

Windows XP was a good operating system. In fact it was a GREAT operating system. It is, however, very old (by computer standards) – 15 years old to be exact, and it is time to upgrade if you haven’t.  People often become comfortable with what’s familiar and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to your operating system it can be a big negative or even a security risk, especially in a business environment.

Official support for Windows XP ended on April 14th, 2009 but due to popular demand had support extended to April 8th, 2014. This extension period gave businesses time to upgrade and meet new compliance standards.

The Disadvantages of Not Upgrading

With end of life support for Windows XP there comes many disadvantages if a business chooses to not upgrade. First and foremost, the biggest drawback is highly reduced security – both offline and online.  Recently major insurance companies and service providers made security changes that will reduce the security Windows XP users have when interacting with their products or break the ability to use them outright.

Simply Easier Payments –  SEP now forces all connections to their website to use the TLS 2/3 protocols. Those protocols are not supported by Internet Explorer 8 which is the highest version of Internet Explorer that can be installed on Windows XP operating systems.  This change means that Jenesis users on Windows XP will find their SEP functionality broken entirely, with no workaround unfortunately.

IVANS – IVANS is making a change later this year that will require the same TLS 2/3 security protocols. This means Jenesis users doing downloads through IVANS on Windows XP computers will lose IVANS functionality completely.

Company Websites – Several company websites have already stopped working, either partially or completely, with Universal being chief among them.  More and more insurance company websites will cease to work with Windows XP in the future as they more rapidly adopt new security protocols.

How and What Should I Upgrade To?

If you are still using Windows XP you have several avenues to upgrading with varying costs.  The most straight forward (and cheapest) path to upgrading is to simply install a copy of Windows 7.  This method of upgrading is the fastest way to achieve security compliance, but could also lead to reduced computer speed if your computers are more than 6-7 years old.

If your computers fall into that age range I would high recommend purchasing new computers.  Not only will new computers come with Windows 10 (or Windows 7 if you have it custom installed), they will be much faster than your current computers, and as an added bonus they will also be much more energy efficient.

No matter what option you go with you can expect your new operating system to be faster, more reliable, and most importantly – to comply with current and future security protocols.