windows XP 8The world’s most successful and well-loved computer operating system days are over. Microsoft officially pulled the plug on Windows XP support on 8 April 2014. #GetOverIt #GetToModern

For general users, this move translated into the discontinuation of system updates and technical support for the operating system. For businesses, however, the risk factor was simply amplified thanks to a similar situation as far as critical updates are concerned, leaving PC networks susceptible to attacks that take advantage of vulnerabilities.

These attacks not only cause downtime, but can also put their customers’ information or business data at risk. Most of Microsoft’s partners also stopped supporting products that run on Windows XP, which translated into incompatibility issues for new hardware and software.

The way forward for businesses is to upgrade their IT infrastructure and make the leap to a safer and more modern platform like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. The latter provides enterprise grade security and is six times more secure than Windows XP ever was.
Tips for making the journey away from XP run smoother

The first thing companies need to do before migrating to a modern platform is to determine whether they need to buy new hardware, as their existing infrastructure might be unable to accommodate Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

Simply use the Windows Upgrade Assistant (http://bit.ly/Get2ModWin) or contact a Microsoft Partner to help make the right decision that best suits your company’s particular situation. If businesses want the flexibility to work in newer, more mobile ways, an upgrade to a new device form-factor is still the best option.

After sorting out your hardware, the next step is to ensure that all your critical business software and applications are supported by the modern operating systems. This is important since some older applications may not work on the newer versions of Windows.
The solution may come in the form of finding an updated version of the application or, in rare cases where an update is not available, locating a replacement app in the Windows Store that will perform the same function. To check whether your apps are compatible, use the Windows Compatibility Center (http://bit.ly/Win8Comp).

Last but certainly not least, always remember to back-up your files before upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. You can back-up to an external or portable hard-drive or to cloud-based (online) storage services such as OneDrive.

To welcome you to the modern age, get the following deals from your nearest participating Vodacom store, tailor-made to your small business:
• Get Microsoft Office 365 from Vodacom on a Lenovo Tab II tablet, plus a Nokia Lumia 520 smartphone and 3 Gigabytes of data per month, for just R649 per month; or
• Get Microsoft Office 365 from Vodacom on an HP 250 notebook, plus a Nokia Lumia 520 and 3 Gigabytes of data per month, for just R569 per month.

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