Most folks that stay apprised with technology are aware that Windows XP goes to end of life in April 2014. However, in healthcare it appears that vendors and some support entities have buried their head in the sand about this looming date. Only time will tell ,but there is a good potential that healthcare organizations will get hit with a double whammy next year.
The Potential Virus
In a recent article from Computer World, “XP’s retirement will be hacker heaven”, Gregg Keizer lays out a pretty fair scenario for organizations that remain on Microsoft’s decade old operating system.
Because Microsoft will stop patching XP, hackers will hold zero-days they uncover between now and April, then sell them to criminals or loose them themselves on unprotected PCs after the deadline.
One of the requirements of the recent healthcare reform is the ability to adhere to HIPAA compliance by being able to protect patient records. If a healthcare stays on Windows XP and exploit is found which provides intruders access to patient records then all the work for meaningful use may go down the drain. There is a good article on physicianpractice.com, Growing HIPAA Threat – Ignore Windows XP at Your Own Peril , that explains in greater detail.
Maybe a Tripple Whammy
If for some reason a healthcare entity stays on Windows XP and doesn’t pay for extended support they could end up suffering on all 3 fronts. They could get hit by a virus, denied reimbursement, then have to pay several million after the fact for extended Windows XP Support.
picture via www.microsoft.com