Security risk as nearly half of smaller companies still use Windows XP or Windows 7

One in four computer users are still using obsolete operating systems, according to new research.

Cyber security company Kaspersky found that 48% of small and medium sized are still using the likes of Windows XP and Windows 7, despite newer versions being available.

Failure to upgrade office computers leaves companies more vulnerable to security breaches and viruses than they would be if they moved to newer operating systems.

This reliance is creating a security risk, according to Kaspersky.

“Statistics show that a significant share of users, both businesses and individuals, still use workstations running an outdated or approaching end of lifecycle OS,” said Alexey Pankratov, enterprise solutions manager, Kaspersky.

The widespread use of Windows 7 is concerning, as there is less than six months to go until this version becomes unsupported. The reasons behind this lag vary depending on the software in place, which may be unable to run on the newest OS versions, to economic reasons and even just down to habit.”

The company warned that the cost of dealing with potential security issues may substantially outweigh any costs associated with upgrading a system.

Looking at the specific versions of outdated OS used, the install base for Windows 7 and Windows 10 is the same across SMBs and large businesses, at 47% usage.

A further 5% are  using Windows 8.1, however, some businesses failed to take advantage of the free upgrade cycle and continue to use Windows 8, which hasn’t had mainstream support from Microsoft since January 2016.

Mark Swann, Managing Director of UK Business IT, said: “In a few months, you won’t have any choice but to upgrade to Windows 10—unless you want to lose security updates and support, so it is much better to be prepared. The good news is that in terms of speed, security, interface ease, compatibility, and software tools—Windows 10 is a massive improvement over its predecessors.”

If you need support with an upgrade or advice on the differing features between Windows 7 and Windows 10, please contact UK Business IT on 01782 264455.

Over 90% of organisations in the UK now completely rely on their IT network to remain competitive. External IT support is essential for SMEs and is far more affordable than the cost of employing internal support staff.