Whilst many SMEs keep up to date with their pc operating platforms, recent evidence suggests that 1 in 5 are still using Microsoft XP even though mainstream support for it was withdrawn in April 2014. Windows XP was a pretty good system and a significant number of small businesses take the attitude that if it isn’t broken then it doesn’t need to be fixed.

After all, businesses may feel they have far more important things to focus on than their computer operating system.

One of the other reasons that SMEs may not want to upgrade is because they feel it is either too expensive or could create problems with the running of the company, causing delays and requiring the diversion of resources to train individual staff in the operation of the new system. Smaller companies may well also have older machines that don’t have the capacity for running something like Microsoft 7 or 8 – upgrading could realistically involve getting whole new computer hardware that comes at a greater cost.

The problem is that, without the support from Microsoft, retaining your XP operating system can lead to IT security issues as well as other vulnerabilities and risks associated with the fact that it is no longer being updated. New software that needs to be added to a company might not be compatible with the old Windows XP system or existing software could have future upgrades that don’t work with the platform. For instance, most Windows XP users will be aware that updating to a browser such as Internet Explorer 9 is a virtual no-no.

There’s no doubt that, at some point, all SMEs will need to change over to a new operating system and leaving it to the last minute can cause problems, with a forced change potentially happening at a more inconvenient time for the business. Therefore it is sensible for all businesses to plan ahead and make the jump to a new operating system that avoids these potential complications.

You may be surprised to learn that converting to a more advanced operating system is neither as expensive nor as time consuming as many small businesses think. Unless you have a very old pc, the chances are you won’t have to upgrade your hardware as well. Microsoft learned their lesson when they brought out the Vista platform a few years ago and subsequent upgrades now need much less space and memory than you would expect. The new sytems also offer a kind of Windows XP compliant virtual environment if you have software that can only be run on that particular platform.

If you have the right IT support you can effectively reduce your overall costs when you switch to a new platform such as Microsoft 7 or 8 and the move should also greatly increase the productivity of your business and your staff. If you are using Windows XP still then your business is essentially missing out on the latest software innovations that could put some serious value added extra into your operational procedures.

Author's Bio: 

I am Erika Chitty. I work for M2Computing in Operations & Sales support. At M2Computing, We provide flexible and affordable Small Business IT Support, systems support, Cloud, virtual desktop and Blaze Back Up services across the South East, UK.