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Windows XP Expiration

March 24, 2014

How does this impact your practice?

If any computers in your practice are running Windows XP, you need to understand how this may significantly affect your HIPAA Compliance and PCI (credit card) Compliance. Please read the brief explanation below to better understand how this affects you and what we can do to help you comply with this shift in technology standards.

Windows XP is Expiring?

On April 8, 2014 Microsoft will no longer be offering free support of their Windows XP operating system, the core Windows system that may be running on some of your computers. As of this date, Microsoft will no longer provide the ongoing software updates which are meant to fix problems and repair security vulnerabilities. This does NOT mean that your Windows XP computers will stop working on April 9th, but we do want to explain how this impacts your practice and provide our recommendation on how we can responsibly help you overcome this change.

The two areas of your practice that are most clearly affected by this change:

1.) PCI Compliance (Credit Card & ATM Card processing): The financial industry has regulations regarding the safe and secure usage of credit card and ATM card information. Recently, a few of our customers have been contacted by their banks or credit card agencies and told that they must remove the Windows XP systems from their network in order to remain in good standing with their PCI Compliance. Some of these financial companies even perform periodic audits on the computer network, and are therefore able to enforce this requirement.

2.) HIPAA Compliance: The HIPAA Security Rule is meant to ensure that healthcare providers are following a common set of rules to properly safeguard ePHI (electronic Protected Health Information). After April 8, 2014 computers that are still running Windows XP will gradually become more vulnerable to viruses and other types of breaches in technology security. And, as a result most of the IT security experts and dental technology leaders have declared that any computer networks running these systems after this date will no longer be HIPAA compliant.

How do I replace Windows XP?

Best Recommendations to Become Compliant

There are many factors involved in determining the most economical and effective path to purge Windows XP from your practice network. Below are the two most common recommendations for you to generally anticipate.

1.) PC Upgrade: If the age of the computer is 3yrs or less, we would typically recommend you keep your existing computer and allow SK to re-install a new HIPAA compliant version of Windows on that computer, such as Windows 7.

2.) PC Replacement: If the computer is 4yrs or older, it would typically be a much better investment to replace that computer with a new HIPAA compliant Windows 7 workstation.

*** Important Reminder: Internet Safety ***

The most practical way to prevent viruses and breaches in IT security is to keep internet and email use limited to business purposes. Even one staff member using a practice PC to check non-business related email or spending time on personal or social websites is asking for trouble. If you have computers that are running Windows XP after April 8th, it would be especially important to limit this type of risky and unnecessary activity.

How Can We Work Together?

SK will continue to proactively identify customer networks that are running Windows XP, and we will continue to contact those practices to discuss the most appropriate upgrade plan. To assist us, if you know that you have computers that are running Windows XP and are eager to have us provide a recommended upgrade path for your practice, please let us know so that we may prioritize your request. Our standard approach is to communicate and promote IT industry standard best practices, but not aggressively push or sell changes or upgrades. At this time, the IT industry standard best practice is clearly mandating that any healthcare provider should plan to implement this change as soon as it can be budgeted and planned at the practice.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns, or to have us prioritize your Windows XP evaluation.

Main Office: 888-654-1299
Philadelphia Contact: Aaron Smith:
Pittston Contact: Jim Dietrich:

Thank you,

Mark Kiefer
Sal Sciandra

SK Technology Group, Inc.

March 24, 2014

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