An URGENT Security Warning For Businesses Running Microsoft XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003. Microsoft XP End of Life.

From: Jarom Renfeldt
President, JR-Tech
www.jr-tech.com
Microsoft Certified Partner And Security Expert

Dear Colleague,

If your organization is currently running either Windows XP, Office 2003, or Exchange 2003 on one or more computers in your office, you need to know about a dangerous security threat to your organization that must be addressed now. Please take a moment to read this important announcement.

My name is Jarom Renfeldt, President of JR-Tech and a local Microsoft Certified Partner. As such, we are aggressively attempting to reach all businesses within the Southern California area that use Microsoft XP, Office 2003, or Exchange 2003 (or any older Microsoft software) to alert you to a serious security risk to your organization, and inform you about what you need to do now to protect your company.

Microsoft has officially announced that it will retire support on the XP operating system, Office 2003 software suite, and Exchange 2003 Mail Server on April 8, 2014 (see the enclosed article for more details). That means any computer or server with these software programs installed will be completely exposed to serious hacker attacks aimed at taking control of your network, stealing data, crashing your system and inflicting a host of other business-crippling problems you do NOT want to have to deal with.

This is such a serious threat that all companies housing financial and medical information are being required by law to upgrade any and all computer systems running XP, Office 2003, or Exchange 2003 because firewalls and anti-virus software will NOT be sufficient to completely protect them (or you).

Unless you don’t care about cyber criminals running rampant in your company’s server, you MUST upgrade any servers or workstations running these programs.

Free Microsoft Risk Assessment And Migration Plan Shows You The Easiest, Most Budget-Friendly Way To Upgrade

As a local Microsoft Certified Partner, my company has committed to helping businesses in the Southern California area by offering a Microsoft Risk Assessment and Migration Plan for free.

At no cost, we’ll come to your office and conduct our proprietary Network Audit — a process that’s taken us over 10 years to perfect — to not only determine what specific computers and servers will be affected by this announcement, but also to assess other security, backup and efficiency factors that could be costing you in productivity and hard dollars.

After performing this Assessment for many other companies like yours, I’m confident that we will not only be able to expose a number of security risks and issues that you weren’t aware of, but also find ways to make your business FAR more efficient and productive.

We’ll also put together a customized Migration Plan and show you how to painlessly upgrade your old Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and Windows XP machines while simultaneously:

  • Eliminating the need for you to spend a small fortune on new hardware and software. We’ve developed a unique, little-known way for businesses like yours to get a completely new, upgraded network with full help-desk support and services for a very affordable, flat monthly payment. This plan has been extremely popular with our small business clients because it gives them everything they need without the huge hit to cash flow.
  • Giving you instant disaster recovery and the peace of mind that comes with it. You’ll never lose data or be down more than 24 hours due to a server crash, hardware failure, employee mistake, fire or other data-erasing disaster. Depending on the type of backup you’re using now, we might even be able to drastically reduce or eliminate that monthly expense altogether.
  • Lowering your IT support and maintenance costs. We can typically save our clients money while giving you and your employees the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime, on any device, thanks to new cloud solutions we have available.

If nothing else, you’ll gain a 3rd-party review of your computer network’s security for free. To claim your Free Network Audit and Migration Plan, as well as to get more details, go to:

www.jr-tech.com/audit

I also want to assure you that this consultation will not be a ‘heavy pressure’ sales meeting but a frank and informative consultation that will arm you with the information and facts you need to best address this issue. Should you decide to seek our advice and services after this consultation, we’ll welcome that opportunity. However, if you choose to take another direction or implement it on your own, that’s fine too.

I will have Jamie from my office call within the week to make sure you’ve seen this letter and to schedule your Free Risk Assessment. I would URGE YOU NOT TO PROCRASTINATE: If you do need to upgrade your network, it’s best to have it done BEFORE the end of the year to claim the deduction on this year’s tax return.

Jarom Renfeldt, President JR-Tech

www.jr-tech.com

Call me direct with your questions: 951-319-4040

Important:

Due to the intensive one-on-one time required to conduct these Risk Assessments, we can only make them available for free until March 31, 2014 or until we receive 25 requests, whichever comes first. Please contact us today.

P.S. — If you are uncertain as to whether or not you have computers and servers with the XP operating system, Exchange 2003, or Office 2003 software installed, give us a call. Part of our Assessment will be to run a full inventory and diagnostic of all the servers, PCs and devices connected to your network.

About JR-Tech

Since 2004 JR-Tech has specialized in providing IT Business Solutions and Comprehensive Management to its clients.

Providing a personal approach to all network solutions is our Core Focus! That means:

  • Understanding your business, and how technology can help you meet your goals
    • Developing custom strategies tailored specifically to your business
    • Providing your company the necessary training and understanding how your systems operate
    • Helping you take full advantage of your technology
    • Planning with you for your future IT needs and how to prepare to meet them now
    • Providing full IT management solutions and services
    • Being the liaison you need to partner with your other venders to accomplish the overall objective
    • Taking ownership of our solutions, breaking down the costs of new products, and ensuring the value to your company

Read On To Hear What Our Clients Have To Say:

J Ginger Masonry

“One thing we really appreciate about JR-Tech is their process of evaluating the costs of new products versus the functionality / usefulness of that product on our business. Plus the ability of JR-Tech to watch our money/spending like it was their own.”

“The most important factors that influenced our decision to go with JR-Tech was their knowledge about our existing system and future IT issues we may encounter, network security, and costs.”

“The cost of the service we were receiving from our old IT company seemed extremely high, and simple tasks weren’t being completed. We no longer have to make multiple requests for an issue to be resolved, and it’s handled well before our contracted time requires. Before I had to speak with different individuals depending on the issue. Now I have one point of contact to handle all of our problems and future planning.”

“We were concerned transitioning from anther IT company to JR-Tech. They were able to transition our systems to our office from the other IT company’s office quickly, and begin a process to update our systems. The entire process was clearly explained including any set backs that may occur.”

“When discussing our current IT situation and what decisions we could make in the future we felt comfortable that JR Tech would find the best solution for our company in terms of functionality and cost. Their competitors didn’t seem to grasp exactly what we wanted at a fair price.”

Miles Preservation

“Knowing that no matter what happens, JR-Tech is going to be there for us, is the best thing that happened to our company. I have lost no more sleep over computer problems after hiring JR-Tech. I didn’t imagine that it could have been this good of a change. If I had to sum up JR-Tech in a sentence, it would be this: JR-Tech provides exceptional service you can depend on!”

“Our previous systems were not reliable enough, nor were the IT companies competent enough to keep us up and running all the time. JR-Tech was able to overcome all intermittent productivity drops (which in our case was the ability to report work and jobs completed with thousands of photos attached to work orders daily). After JR-Tech became our sole provider of Computer related and technical services we never had to worry about IT issues shutting us down or slowing us down.”

“Fast emergency service is extremely important to our company. If anything “went down,” or stopped working it could be disastrous since, in our industry everything is time sensitive. Any down time would be devastating to our work load. JR-Tech is extremely dependable. A huge PLUS when working with any IT related needs.”

“Our expectations were that our system would be upgraded, maintained and improved upon as needed to keep us on the cutting edge of our industry with our computers and software. Our expectations have been exceeded. We grew much larger, much quicker than we anticipated and our computer network had to be maintained and grown to keep up with the demands of our industry. JR- Tech set up our system and grew it while keeping us up and running so there was not any downtime while we initially upgraded. As we continued to grow, JR-Tech, provided dependable and professional computer related services that we needed to be successful.”

“Expertise, Reliability, and Professionalism were the main factors that influenced our decision to retain JR-Tech. We needed a company that was current with fresh technology and solutions but not pushing unnecessary bells and whistles.”

J&R Environmental, Inc.

“I love that whenever something needs to be handled, all it takes is one phone call to JR-Tech and the problem is solved… Best customer service ever!”

“We were ecstatic about the improvements that JR-Tech made to our software, hardware, and IT process overall. We went from an old, tired 20 year old server computer to a state-of-the-art technology cabinet with new servers, new computers, and current, legal software. Not only that, but JR-Tech has also implemented a VOIP phone system that saves us a ton of money each month, and has implemented networking solutions as we have grown over the years.”

“Once we hired JR-Tech, we no longer had to spend time working on our IT system ourselves and could focus on what we do as a business. From that day, JR-Tech handled everything we needed, and I no longer had to worry about any of it.”

“JR-Tech was professional, well-recommended, responsive, and solved our problems with new and innovative solutions.”

JF Welch Insurance Services, Inc.

“JR-Tech is very responsive and dependable. They provide clear information and resolution of issues. They have automated and improved our workflow, and increased our productivity.”

How Windows XP end of life will affect your desktop applications

Gabe Knuth

As Windows XP comes to the end of its life, applications in enterprise desktop and virtualization environments everywhere will feel the effects.

Luckily, there are a couple things you can do if your applications depend on XP: You can use a very old Windows Server platform or jump on the virtualization bandwagon.

I’ve called April 9, 2014, the real red-letter day in the history of Windows XP. On that day, any zero- day exploit released into the wild will run rampant on Windows XP systems while Microsoft watches and says “I told you so.” When companies beg for a fix, Microsoft will hold one document in each hand: the lifecycle information for Windows XP with a Post-it note that says “You had four years to move to Windows 7,” and a contract for custom support.

You’re running out of both time and options when it comes to removing Windows XP from your company.

Microsoft isn’t the only company ditching XP

Not only can Microsoft wash its hands of Windows XP support, but so can all the companies that made software for XP.

Assuming those companies stopped actively developing for the OS years ago, they are likely still supporting the applications that run on it. After Windows XP end of life on April 8, 2014, they’ll have no reason to continue. The implications of this reality run far and wide. Line-of-business software is surely affected, as are any of the random applications you are using.

What really is cause for concern for desktop and virtualization admins, though, is that security software vendors will likely stop patching, updating and supporting their software.

Why would companies such as McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky or Trend Micro bother maintaining a product for an OS that is, for all intents and purposes, dead? Those applications might still run, and it could be that their definition files will be updated with the latest viruses for a time, but do you think those companies will pay attention to viruses targeted toward XP after it’s gone? Probably not.

What about activation servers?

There is one other question that has yet to be answered, and that is in regards to Microsoft’s activation servers. What happens to the part of the system that activates Windows XP? Does it go offline? Is it somehow protected and only available to people that have paid for custom support? Existing machines will no doubt work just fine, but what about rebuilds or new machines?

Of course, Microsoft could simply validate all existing keys and let anyone that wants to use XP use it. There’s no precedent for this because XP was the first Microsoft OS that required activation. We may just have to wait and see.

The bottom line is that running Windows XP in your organization on anything other than a desktop with no network connection, floppy drive, USB ports, or CD drive is an outright liability, bordering on irresponsible. Yes, there are situations that will require it, but if you determine that your organization can’t afford to get off Windows XP on the basis of cost alone, you are wrong.

Alternatives for application support

Don’t get me wrong — I love the OS; I distinctly remember running Windows Whistler on my Cyrix 300 MHz computer with an AT-style keyboard jack as a home theater PC in 2000. Still, it’s time to put it out to pasture.

There is at least one thing you can do, though, to extend the life of systems that depend on Windows XP: Use Windows Server 2003 R2.

Windows Server 2003 R2 is essentially Windows XP Server, and while the Windows XP end of life date is April 8, 2014, the end of life for Server 2003 R2 comes 15 months after that: July 14, 2015. Since they are roughly the same OS, based on the same kernel, it’s likely that anything you require XP for will work on Server 2003 R2 — and that will buy you more than a year to figure things out.

There are two ways to keep apps running with this approach.

The first is to move those troublesome applications into the data center and use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to deliver the application. This, of course, requires that the application is capable of running on a terminal server. In fact, this is also a viable means of preserving some of those oddball applications in your RDS environments.

If the application just won’t work or has to run on its own system, you have the option of installing Server 2003 R2 on the physical computer. This solution is costly, because you need to purchase server licenses for each of these machines — but it could cost significantly less than a Custom Support Agreement. Granted, it only buys you 15 months, but you can consider that to be additional motivation to switch platforms.

The bottom line is that you’re running out of both time and options when it comes to removing Windows XP from your company. Even though I’m a desktop virtualization guy, if you feel more comfortable using physical desktops, go for it. Use VDI if you can (those extra management features will help in the long run); use application virtualization and user environment virtualization, too (it will make it easier to migrate OSes in the future). But, whatever you do, make sure the OS is gone by the time of Windows XP end of life next year.