If you haven't upgraded from Windows XP yet, it is likely you will miss the deadline. After April 8, Microsoft is dropping support for the much-used operating system (OS), and after that date the firm won't be releasing any new patches or updates for XP.

This leaves any machines still running the OS at risk. However, it's possible to minimise the impact by isolating XP machines from the network. This means that if these machines are compromised, attackers won't have access to your network and your company data.

If you're still running XP, what are the steps to isolate machines to prevent attacks after April 8?

Identifying XP

If, like many businesses, you are running a 'mixed' environment of more than one operating system, the first step is to identify which machines are running Windows XP. The results could surprise you: servers and even point of sale (PoS) terminals are often running the outdated OS.

Once you have identified XP machines, make sure you update them one final time before April 8. This means they will at least be protected from the latest vulnerabilities.

Machines running XP - and the apps they run - should then be disconnected from the internet. At the same time, firms will need to closely monitor traffic and all activities within the system.

Meanwhile, a virtual machine that isolates the software in its own sandbox can be effective when dealing with important legacy business apps.

Moving on

However, isolating XP is a short term solution: you will only be truly safe when you upgrade. The results will be worth it: Windows 8 offers features that will make your business more productive and efficient.

Migrating doesn't have to be difficult. With the help of Dell Migration Services, the whole process can be painless - and done in half the time