Microsoft has urged small business in Africa to upgrade their operating systems as computers running on Windows XP will no longer receive critical security patches and updates as of April 9.
The move away from XP follows research by Microsoft which showed it is five times as susceptible to viruses and attacks as Windows 8.1 because older operating systems were not designed to be protected against the fast evolving exploitation techniques and threats of today.
Microsoft is calling on businesses to update their technology accordingly.
“With small businesses contributing up to 50 per cent of GDP and up to 90 per cent of employment in many Sub-Saharan African economies, it is vital that they embrace newer technologies to remain competitive and thrive in the modern-era,” said Rotimi Olumide, Windows Group lead for West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands.
The company said failure by these businesses to upgrade will leave them increasingly vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and cyberattacks that steal or damage personal information and business data.
“End of Service doesn’t mean XP will stop running, but over time security and performance will be severely affected,” said Olumide. “The latest International Data Corporation (IDC) data shows that businesses are prone to spend three times more on dealing with security issues in the next year if they don’t plan to migrate from Windows XP to Windows 7 or Windows 8.”
Microsoft has also partnered with Laplink to provide XP users with a free data migration tool called PCmover Express, which backs up all files before migration as users will not be able to keep any files, settings, or programs when they upgrade.