MSPs Can Learn From Windows XP on How to Grow Their Business

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Julian Vojtech

MSPs Can Learn From Windows XP on How to Grow Their Business

“A fool learns from his experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others.”

~Otto von Bismarck

This insightful sentiment can apply to nearly any aspect of life and business.

Even Windows XP.

Microsoft’s end-of-life (EOL) service for Windows XP presents MSPs and their clients with the perfect learning opportunity for Windows 7 EOL.

In April 2009, Microsoft halted mainstream support for XP but continued monthly security updates. However, design changes, warranty claims and free technical support were not offered. However, organizations hung on to XP since Windows Vista wasn’t much of a motivator to upgrade.

For five years, Microsoft kept XP in a suspended state of EOL until April 2014, when they terminated all support, save for a scant few critical security updates. Microsoft urged companies to migrate to the newer Windows 7 or 8, cautioning that cybercriminals could reverse engineer security patches for more current operating systems to target equivalent vulnerabilities in XP. Additionally, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned that running XP on their machines could prevent compliance with the government’s information security requirements. Yet, many businesses carried on with XP anyway.

Home Depot and Target both suffered significant data breaches when malware exploited a known vulnerability in their outdated software. An upgrade to Windows 7 might have prevented such incidents.

Although these two national retailers probably learned a lesson about operating with old, unsupported software, many newer or smaller companies may still be unaware of the dangers. The recent Windows 7 EOL is a ripe opportunity for MSPs to educate their clients about the risks of running W7 now that mainstream support has ended. It also gives MSPs the opportunity to look to Microsoft’s drawn-out termination of XP and use that knowledge to capitalize on new business.

Key Risks Associated With End-of-Life Software

  • Security Weakness
    This is one of the most significant risks. Without regular security patches, the software is more vulnerable to attacks. And often, hackers discover and exploit security “holes.”
  • Compliance Issues
    This can be a two-fold problem. If hackers breach a client’s network via an EOL security hole, the business can also face repercussions for compliance failure.
  • Software Incompatibility
    Application producers stop creating upgrades or new apps for EOL software. The longer a client runs EOL software, the more compatibility issues they will encounter.
  • Performance Decline
    Old software runs on old machines. Aging devices diminish performance, reliability and security. The cost of downtime could eventually out-price the cost of an upgrade.

If Microsoft paces its Windows 7 EOL as it did with XP, MSPs will have time to educate their clients and help them upgrade their legacy devices and software – all while ramping up their revenue.

MSPs, to learn how you can enhance your services, download our e-book “Leverage Windows 7 End of Life to Grow Your MSP Practice.”


  1. Home Depot, Target breaches exploited Windows XP flaw, repot says, Networkworld, 2014