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As most IT specialists are no doubt aware, Microsoft has made clear that its support for XP is ending next April 8th, and that those who remain on XP after that will face significant cybersecurity risks.Given Microsoft’s clear commitment to ending support for XP, you would think that enterprises would be pretty much fully migrated from XP. This turns out not to be the case.

A joint study of 750 people from enterprises, device manufacturers and independent software providers conducted by research firm IDC and Flexera Software revealed that the IT industry is still lagging significant in the transition from Windows XP.

According to the survey, significant work has yet to be done within this very narrow time frame. Almost a third of organizations – 28% -- haven’t yet migrated 50% of their applications to Windows 7. As a side note, 3.7% of the survey respondents plan on migrating directly to Windows 8.

While I am not overly surprised to see that very few IT specialists and vendors are planning to migrate to Windows 8, I’m fairly shocked that such a significant portion of respondents indicated that their enterprises still have significant commitments to XP barely five months before Microsoft drops all support for the OS.

The survey notes that a major reason for delays in migrating from XP is that resources within IT departments are stretched thin. While firms may be in the middle of migrating from XP to a later OS (generally Windows 7), IT departments are simultaneously involved in other major initiatives such as a move to virtualization. In a situation like this, there is always the risk that neither major project will be fully implemented and/or that significant errors may occur.

What I suspect will happen is that in the few months after all support for XP ends, we will hear a number of horror stories in the media around major security breaches occurring through attacks on the old XP installed base. Once this occurs, all hell will break loose and the XP laggards will embark on mad scrambles to complete their XP migrations. Unfortunately, much confidential data – and more than a few IT jobs – will be lost before the XP migration saga is finally over.

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