On April 8th, 2014 Microsoft will no longer offer support for Windows XP, their Operating System that was made available to the public in 2001, over 12 years ago. Despite its age, Windows XP still has users all over the world, a fact that will leave many susceptible to attacks over the course of the next couple months.
Once XP is no longer backed by Microsoft support systems that are still running it are more at risk every day that they don’t upgrade, and this is especially true for medical offices and their network systems. If your office is still using Windows XP by April 8th, that is technically non-compliant with HIPAA, PCI and a number of other computer security standards. While that may be the case, HIPAA won’t tell you directly that you’re in violation of their practices – not until it’s too late and you’re stuck with a hefty fine. Better to be safe than sorry, especially when it involves a person’s medical and financial history.
Another threat will be that of dubious attack methods not previously seen that are sure to make headlines after April 8th. Hackers know that a large number of PC users will miss the XP deadline and will take full advantage of that fact. Don’t fall victim and expect Microsoft to help – they won’t.
Even if you don’t get attacked or infected, it’s still a good idea to upgrade your system if it’s running Windows XP. Once Microsoft support ends, you can expect other companies to follow suit shortly after. New software and hardware used in the medical field won’t be XP compatible, and you’ll be stuck with a useless computer, waiting for an upgrade you could’ve gotten a few weeks prior.
In short the best thing you can do in this case is to upgrade the operating system on your computer, or the computer itself. Odds are if you’re still using XP, you could probably use a new computer. The latest Windows operating system, Windows 8.1, is the most up-to-date operating system in terms of all capabilities and industry benchmarks. If your office is still using windows XP, be sure and look into an upgrade before it’s too late.