As of April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support or provide updates to their Windows XP operating system. According to Microsoft, updates provide patches that address system vulnerabilities, and without further updates, “PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that you migrate to a current supported operating system – such as Windows 8.1 – so you can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks.”
For HIPAA-Covered Entities, this means continued operation on Windows XP could result in a non-compliance situation, according to Wisconsin Physician Services (WPS), the Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for Medicare Parts A and B in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Michigan. In a recent newsletter, WPS said it is the responsibility of providers to maintain compliance with the HIPAA security rule, namely the regulation requiring covered entities to “implement hardware, software, and/or procedural mechanisms to record and examine access and other activity in information systems that contain or use e-PHI.”
Microsoft also announced that support for Windows 2003 also ends on April 8, 2014. As well, Microsoft indicated that additional support may not be available for various versions of Internet Explorer operating on the outdated Windows versions.
Windows versions that are currently active and receiving both support and updates include Windows Vista, Windows 7 (with Service Pack 1), and Windows 8. Review the Windows Lifecycle Fact Sheet for more information.
If you currently are operating on Windows XP or any earlier versions, contact your IT department or contractor today to make plans to upgrade before the April 8, 2014, deadline.
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