By Cindy Bates, Vice President of US SMB&D at Microsoft
The world looked a lot different when Windows XP was first introduced in 2001 than it does today. Since then, major technology advancements, such as cloud computing and virtualization, have given rise to better collaboration tools, greater mobility and flexibility to work from any location, and improved PC security and management. Now small businesses can leverage the same powerful technologies as large enterprises, at an affordable cost.
With only five months until end of support for Windows XP and Office 2003, you have a timely opportunity to drive meaningful conversations with your small business customers about the benefits of modernizing their OS and productivity solutions, and the risks of not doing so. To help drive urgency around the need to modernize, here are the 7 things your customers need to know now:
- Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will end on April 8, 2014, meaning there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.
- Without critical security updates, PCs could become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage business data and information.
- Anti-virus software will not be able to fully protect PCs running Windows XP once the OS is no longer supported.
- Businesses that continue to run Windows XP after support ends may be exposed to potential security threats, and may even risk breaching compliance standards depending on the industry in which they operate.
- Getting current with the latest versions of Windows and Office ensures continued support and offers businesses improved productivity and flexibility.
- Updating to Windows 8 Pro and Office 365 are the first steps to getting modern and staying modern. As a subscription service, Office 365 offers continual updates to customers who are subscribed so they are consistently working from the most up-to-date experience available.
- There are many options for SMBs considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. If their existing PCs meet the system requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8, you can help them deploy Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro. Customers whose PCs do not meet system requirements for Windows 8 will be amazed at the capabilities of Windows 8 Pro on the latest business devices.
My team has developed a host of resources designed to help you have the right conversations and make the transition from XP to the modern OS as seamless as possible for you and your customers. Find marketing and sales support, including special offers for customers still running Windows XP, Office 2003 or Exchange 2003 in the Get Modern campaign on the Microsoft Ready-to-Go Marketing portal. The opportunity is huge, and I wish you much success!