Irish Government will fail to meet Windows XP upgrade deadline

Operating Systems

by Duncan MacRae| 19 February 2014

The IT mistake that cost Ireland 3.3m euros.

The Irish Government has admitted that its IT infrastructure will not be upgraded before Microsoft ends its support for Windows XP - a blunder that has cost the Government 3.3m euros.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform said that the cash will be paid to Microsoft for emergency security support once the April 8 deadline passes.

The 12-month deal has been specifically created to protect the ageing systems in four critical departments - Health, Education and Skills, Justice and Equality; Environment Community and Local Government; and all of their associated entities.

The Microsoft website states: "After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP. Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected."

But a number of government bodies, banks and large enterprises will require emergency support to keep themselves protected after April 8 until they fully upgrade from the 12-year-old Windows XP to a more modern operating system.

A Department of Public Expenditure and Reform spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft whereby affected organisations can get access to priority security bug fixes for 12 months from April," said a spokesman for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

"Given the initial baseline information, the cost of each organisation sheltering under individual agreements for 12 months would have been €14.2m. Following discussions surrounding a cap on cost, the overall cost was negotiated down to €3.3m for 12 months including some Microsoft technical inputs. This is a value-for-money solution to a global issue."

The cost will be met by the individual departments requiring the special security support, rather than any central fund.

The Irish Government's CIO, Bill McCluggage, resigned in December just seven months after his appointment. He had been tasked with implementing 'eGovernment' by 2015 and developing the Government's cloud strategy. His replacement has yet to be announced.

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