It seems like every other day news breaks of yet another company or government being hacked into and sensitive information being stolen. With the U.S. Navy having an arsenal of nuclear warheads, intelligence information and who knows what Area 51 actually is, you'd think they would be a leading organization when it comes to security - but unfortunately, that is not the case.
The U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has locked up a $9.1 million contract extension with Microsoft to provide extended support for Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. The military branch has approximately 100,000 machines still using the software, for which they now need additional extended support to make sure they stay protected from outside threats.
The renewal is intended to give the Navy more time to migrate to newer platforms as they are working to remove all of the legacy applications and OS from their network; delays in the deployment of the Next Generation Network (NGEN) system has forced the entity to extend its service contract with Microsoft. The Navy has said that they are working diligently and have formed a task force to eradicate Windows XP from their networks but because of the size and complexity of these installations, more time is needed.
While it is good that the Navy is actively removing the outdated OS from its network, the bigger concern is that it has taken this long for the military branch to rid itself of Windows XP. That OS reached the end of its extended service life more than a year ago and Microsoft gave plenty of warning that the OS would no longer be supported, but the Navy did not heed to these announcements.
The end result is that the U.S. Navy is now using tax dollars to support an outdated operating system in one of the most sensitive environments on the planet because it failed to plan ahead for the service lifecycle of Windows XP.
The U.S. Navy is the poster child of what Microsoft is trying to avoid with Windows 7. Because the OS has proven to be the successor of Windows XP for most large corporations, the company is doing everything it can to entice users to jump from Windows 7 to 10, including giving away the OS free to consumers.