How an app that no one uses could be endangering your IT security


In just under five months, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP – and running XP after 8 April carries significant security risks. Yet 8-in-10 NHS desktops are still running the 12-year-old operating system — which means that the race is on to migrate NHS machines to a modern operating system like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the challenges that come with upgrading from Windows XP. But application compatibility continues to be one of the most misunderstood areas. Part of the problem is that most organisations don’t know which programs their employees really use, says Marina Stedman, marketing director at Microsoft partner Centrix Software.

If an organisation just tries to count the number of apps installed on its machines, it’s liable to overestimate how many programs it needs, which can make migration efforts more difficult and costly, says Stedman. Centrix has found that 80% of the applications installed on a computer are never used — and when looking solely at programs that aren’t compatible with modern operating systems, that figure can jump as high as 95%.

Some organisations try to get around this by surveying workers about the apps that are essential to their jobs. These surveys can be misleading, however, since employees are liable to forget about apps that indispensable, but rarely used – such as a program for an uncommon medical test.

Centrix worked with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, using Centrix’s WorkSpace iQ solution, to provide the trust with app usage analytics and analysis of which apps were compatible with modern operating systems. By understanding its 6,000 workers’ app usage, the trust could better allocate resources and manage the upgrade faster. Not only does this information smooth the Windows migration process, but it provides valuable insight into which apps are most useful to workers, which can help prioritize future software acquisitions. Most importantly, it means that the trust’s migration from Windows XP won’t be delayed by an application that no one actually uses, allowing the trust to avoid serious security problems or long-term support costs once XP support ends.

Learn more about Windows XP migration with Centrix.

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