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Is your business at risk from viruses? print Print

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If something happened to your business software, what would it mean for your business? With technology playing an increasingly important part in most businesses, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a plan in place to protect your business against unexpected events that might have a negative effect on your business and/or your customers.

In particular, it’s essential to keep your software up to date and protected against the increasing numbers of viruses, malware and spyware that can infect and corrupt it.

For example, currently there is an increased risk for many businesses with Microsoft’s announcement that from April 8 2014, it will no longer support the Windows XP operating system.

Since Windows XP was introduced 12 years ago, Microsoft has been supporting it with regular updates and security patches which help protect computers from viruses and other threats. However, as is normal with software products, Windows XP has reached the end of its lifecycle and soon, Microsoft will stop providing these updates.

What does this mean for your business? 

If you are using Windows XP, once the updates stop from April 8 2014 your computer(s) could be at greater risk from harmful viruses and other malicious software. The impact of this type of software range from the annoying, to the potentially catastrophic. The risks include:

  • Business Disruption: Malware could make infected computers run very slowly, or even stop working altogether. PCs may also be constantly re-directed to malicious websites.
  • Financial Risk: Cyber criminals could use spyware to steal usernames and passwords, credit card details, and bank account details.
  • Lost Business Data: Data on infected PCs could be corrupted or deleted altogether. At-risk data could include marketing databases, customer and supplier lists, financial accounts and tax records.
  • Damage to your reputation: Infected computers could be used to send spam emails and viruses to other PCs, including your customers’ PCs.
  • Incompatible hardware and software: If you purchase new peripherals such as printers or scanners, or new software, they may not work with Windows XP.

These are worst-case scenarios, but there’s little doubt that the risks for PCs running Windows XP will continue to rise over time once the support ceases.

What should you do to protect your business?

Like any other risk in your business, you should take action to minimise it. If your software is becoming out of date, like Microsoft’s Windows XP, you should contact your software provider as soon as possible and upgrade to a newer version that is fully supported.

It’s also good idea to regularly check that your business’ operating system and all software installed, including anti-virus and security software is up to date in order to minimise potential risks.

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