Windows XP support ended at the beginning of April this year, however Microsoft have stated that users will still receive a security update in order to resolve a flaw in the Internet Explorer browser. The update was issued on Thursday in order to fix a bug which gave hackers the opportunity to access and gain user rights to computers. Despite Microsoft ending support for the Windows XP operating system, meaning that it would no longer support the operating system, it made an exception due to the fact that the flaw was discovered just a few days after the end of support. The flaw affected versions 6-11 of the IE browser and Microsoft was aware of “limited, targeted attacks” to exploit it. According to NetMarket Share, Internet Explorer versions 6-11 combined total more than 50% of the global market of web browsers. This flaw was quickly investigated by Microsoft who took immediate steps in order to prevent potential attacks affecting consumers. These steps included an immediate security update released on Thursday. Further to this, experts expect Microsoft to include regular updated security releases depending on the risks to and requirements of consumers. When you leave your car, you always lock the doors, right? I do not know anyone that would leave their car at risk of being stolen or damaged when it could have been prevented by something as simple as locking the doors. We rely on cars for so much within our lives that we ensure our cars are well maintained and are secure whenever they are not in use. Similarly, businesses rely on IT systems to ensure efficiency and productivity within an organisation. In fact, many organisations would fail to operate at all if their IT system suddenly stopped working. However, many business owners fail to realise that like cars, IT systems, need to be maintained and secured in order to prevent a disaster. Sadly, it often takes a disaster for business owners to understand the impact that technology has upon their business unfortunately this often manifests itself when the damage has already been done. Although in this day and age, many people have a good understanding of technology. The new office assistant may be considered as a bit of a “whizz kid” (often helping you to setup laptops and fix small problems for colleagues)but are they qualified enough to provide the necessary IT support for your entire business? If something was to go wrong when they attempted to fix a problem and all of your data was lost would you be able to cope?Your entire business could potentially no longer function. What would happen to them? Is that level of responsibility fair? Look at your business and ask – is it worth the risk? Many things are nice to have within the business and offer convenience such as the latest coffee machine, state of the art furniture or digital televisions. However IT is no longer a nice addition – it is an essential. Without IT many organisations would not have a business. You may be able to ignore the dust if the cleaner is off work but you need reliable, proactive maintenance and IT support to keep your business in operation. In the same way that you ensure your car maintained and left secure due to the impact it has upon your life, IT systems should be maintained and secure due to the impact they have upon your business. Although IT maintenance and support comes at a price, that cost is bound to be less than the loss the business would face if an IT disaster was to occur. It is important to select a reputable IT company to partner with you. One that will take the time to understand your organisation and provide sound advice. Although a security update was offered to Windows XP users on this occasion, it is highly unlikely that any further support will be offered to users. It is important for all current Windows XP users to update the operating system of their device in order to lower the risk of any future IT security threats.