Today is the day Microsoft ends support for windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003. From now on, should a security flaw be discovered Microsoft will not release an update to fix the issue, rendering devices vulnerable to attack. As more vulnerabilities are discovered, more opportunities are created for hackers to gain access to systems and exploit the data stored upon them, placing business systems and the personal data stored at a great risk. This is not applicable to public sector organisations as Microsoft have an agreement with the UK Government to extend support for Windows XP and Micrsoft Office 2003 for the entire public sector until April 8th 2015. This is to enable the large number of public sector devices still running on Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 to migrate to other operating systems.
For private sector organisations, have you taken adequate steps to mitigate the risks of running an outdated operating system? Organisations have a duty of care to ensure there are ‘appropriate technical organisational measures’ in place to keep personal data safe. Redstor often report on organisations who fail to adhere to the Data Protection Act and the resulting consequences of heavy fines and public backlash. So, what should you be doing to make sure your organisation will not follow suit? The ICO have proposed 3 basic steps to ensure your software is up to date across all devices on your network:
Step one – Carry out an audit of your IT equipment so you know the size of the problem. Make a list of devices, operating systems, serial numbers, installed software and which members of staff this kit is issued to.
Step two – Plan and Prioritise. Work out which updates you need to apply and in which order you are going to do these. If you are disposing of equipment that has reached the end of its life, make sure this is done securely.
Step three – Roll out security updates to the remaining equipment where required and continue to keep the software up-to-date. It is important to recognise the use of mobile devices and tablets as these need to be considered when checking whether devices need an update. Carrying out a full audit of your entire IT environment need not be as cumbersome as perceived.
Redstor’s CentraStage service provides complete visibility of your IT estate from a central cloud platform. This enables easy identification of which devices need OS upgrades as well as which hardware will need to be replaced. Additionally, the portal provides centralised control of devices enabling IT managers to remotely deploy software, manage patches and configure devices one at a time or many at a time. The comprehensive monitoring facilities within the console ensure that IT managers will always be fully informed of what is going wrong and what is about to.
Redstor is a market leader in providing security, storage and disaster recovery services to the public and private sector. Our range of secure and encrypted cloud services are already protecting the data of over 10,000 organisations across the UK. Redstor’s Online Backup service ensures data is safely backed up offsite in an encrypted format. Our cloud sync and share service, Centrastor, enables organisations to store and share files securely online from any device with an Internet connection and our CentraStage service enables support providers to guarantee that devices they support are regularly audited, patched and safely up-to-date for effective endpoint management. Our Virtual Disaster Recovery service guarantees to have your systems up and running within minutes following a disaster. To find out more about our services and how we can help you comply with data protection laws and prevent data leakage, please contact us either by giving us a ring on 01189 515 200 or emailing [email protected].