Windows XP data...

Many business and home users are still using Windows XP as their operating system. Although Windows XP was considered very reliable, this is no longer the case. Windows have recently stopped supporting Windows XP and if you are still running this, then beware! With no security upgrades it is only a matter of time before your system is infected by malware. Indeed Microsoft stopped even providing virus warnings back in July, let alone patches which ended back in April!

The biggest worry for businesses is not necessarily identity theft, but leaving the door open for criminals to access your customer’s details. By not safeguarding this information you are risking non-compliance with insurer’s schedules and more importantly, breaching the Data Protection Act! So do you upgrade your operating system? The chances are that if you are running Windows XP, your existing system will not be able to cope with the requirements of Windows 7, 8 or 10. Many businesses are running legacy applications which are not compatible with newer operating systems and will only run with Windows XP or earlier. So what do I do in this case?

If you adequately safeguard your data, you may be able to argue that you still comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act. The most common source of infection is through downloaded emails or programs. This requires either an internet connection or removable media. If your computer does not require either, can it be used as a stand-alone device running your legacy software?

Multi layered security is essential. Whilst this may not be able to identify new threats, it will monitor the behaviour of every program. This gives the user visibility of anything that is not obvious and allows them to block everything other than essential applications.

If you have to use a Windows XP web browser, give Internet Explorer a rest. They have also stopped security updates on anything running Windows XP, so try Chrome, Firefox etc. Similarly stop using Microsoft default applications and disable vulnerable browser plugins. It may also be worth considering browser sandbox as a protective shield. However the best advice is not to connect to the internet with any Windows XP machine!