Companies drag feet in move away from Windows XP

Many companies are making a slow start, or not starting at all, with a migration away from Microsoft's Windows XP, according to research by rationalisation specialist Camwood.

Microsoft has announced that it will withdraw support for Windows XP in April 2014, and is advising companies that they should have begun migration 18-32 months before the date. It is telling firms to begin planning and application testing immediately.

It is advising larger firms to speak with it or its partners, and that smaller firms should migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

But Camwood' survey of 250 CIOs, CTOs, IT directors and IT managers of UK enterprises shows that only 42% have begun the migration, and almost one in five plan to continue running Windows XP after the end of support.

It says this will place their data security severely at risk when Microsoft winds up the provision of free security patching.

The survey shows the leading reasons that some XP users are not getting into gear are concern about the migration process (21%) and lack of budget (16%).

While it is focused on companies with at least 2,000 employees, it is difficult to see that the overall readiness of small and midsized companies will be any better.

Adrian Foxall, CEO of Camwood, said he could understand the budgetary pressures, but that any company would be foolhardy to put off migration plans any longer.

"With an estimated 40% of business desktops still running Windows XP and with the clock ticking, IT and the board need to join forces and work together to migrate to a new operating system that will support their organisation now and into the future," he said. "Failure to do so will put their company in jeopardy."

The study shows some positives: 42% of IT decision makers have already started migration, and 36% have completed over 75% of the migration process. Over half said at least 50% of their company had been migrated away from XP, suggesting they were on track for complete migration in advance of April 2014.