The end of the world is coming. The world of Windows XP that is. A significant event in the technology industry will happen this April that will affect insurance agents.
Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. Yes, that Windows XP, the operating system that was launched more than 12 years ago. The same operating system that still commands more than 40 percent of all business computers.
What does the end of support for Windows XP mean? It means that Microsoft will no longer provide technical support to vendors, integrators and end users. In other words if you use Windows XP, you will no longer receive security updates or product fixes. Essentially, the operating system will be taken off life support. Why is this end of Windows XP’s life important to insurance agents?
First, with a lack of updates and fixes, your agency’s computers will no longer be secured. This puts your clients’ data at risk as cyber-attackers can target Windows XP vulnerabilities without worry of security updates or patches. Have you been keeping up with the data breaches Target and other companies have experienced recently? Data security is extremely important to consumers. Many E&O policies and compliance departments require agents to run up-to-date supported software for this very reason. Also, as the technology in modern operating systems advances, the programs that use this technology do as well. For example, many agency automation systems use the latest technologies in modern operating systems – like newer browsers, updated API libraries and more – to provide agents the best experience and features to accomplish their daily tasks. These systems might require you to upgrade from Windows XP so they can start using the newer abilities available in the latest operating systems.
What can you do?
Upgrade! You can install an updated operating system or upgrade the computer completely. You might choose to switch to web-based programs for rating and management systems as you can access data from anywhere there is an Internet connection and a web browser. By migrating to all web-based systems, you can even move past the desktop altogether and use tablets and smartphones, thus avoiding the next operating system apocalypse. You can upgrade to the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems. Windows 7 has the familiar interface and is more budget-friendly than Windows 8; however, it is the older of the two operating systems. Windows 8 may require some getting used to as the interface has significantly changed from the Windows look you’re used to. Don’t wait until April, and potentially expose your clients to hackers. The end of Windows XP is inevitable. Upgrade now!
About the Author: Entrepreneur and technology consultant Laird Rixford is the president of Insurance Technologies Corporation (ITC). Founded in 1983, ITC provides marketing, rating and management software and services to the insurance industry, including independent agents and insurance carriers.
Rixford oversees the direction for each of ITC’s products while also leading the company’s sales and marketing departments. His philosophy is to become a strategic partner with agents and carriers instead of being just another vendor.