If you missed it… you should know that Microsoft recently announced that effective April 8, 2014, it will no longer release any security patches or extend support for its Windows XP operating system. You may be thinking, “So what?” Well, if your organization is running its IT systems on Windows XP, your organization could open itself up to security issues. Furthermore, if your organization is in the healthcare industry and using Windows XP, it could be held liable and found non-compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) laws.
Here are a few things you should do to ensure that your company is ready for April 8:
- Perform an audit on your IT systems to determine if you have Windows XP running on your systems.
- If you find that you have Windows XP in your organization, determine what computers have it and what computers have the ability to run a newer operating system.
- For those computers that are unable to run a newer operating system, you may have to decide whether or not to replace those computers with newer ones.
- Consider the prospect of virtualization, and how it could cut costs for your organization.
Replace Windows XP ASAP
If you find your healthcare organization in a position where it needs to upgrade or replace its operating systems, it’s best you start the process sooner than later. The amount of time and effort that this project could cost your company is potentially high, but the ROI and security benefits outweigh any security risks that not upgrading could pose. And not to mention, the liability you could face from a HIPAA and HITECH perspective. To further assist you in your upgrade/compliance efforts, check out this Microsoft support site to determine if your computer(s) can run Windows 8 (the newest operating system).
IT Audit Help
This news may come as a bit of a shock to some businesses, and the process of upgrading systems may seem a bit daunting. If you need help, contact Rea & Associates. Our IT audit professionals can help you determine the steps you need to take to ensure compliance.
By Brian Garland, CPA (Dublin office)