Since its release in 2001, Windows XP has been the most popular operating system in the world. However, in less than three months, Microsoft will end support of the system, which could have major impacts upon any business still basing their operations around it.

According to Microsoft, after Windows XP support ends, computers running it won't have issues in regards to normal operations, but a major security risk will arise. With no more support for updates or protection, there's a large chance that the system will become vulnerable to security risks and viruses. In addition, many software and hardware developers will no longer support the system, limiting future uses of the product in many situations.

Overcoming these issues is a direct job for IT professionals across the country and beyond. Microsoft recommends one of two options, the primary one being upgrading current PC operations. However, many older computer equipment will not be able to run more modern operating systems such as Windows 7 or 8, in which case the company recommends purchasing new PCs. However, though computer prices have plummeted in recent years, this could still be a major expense for almost any small business.

Keeping protection can be expensive
If making immediate hardware upgrades isn't a viable concept for many companies, there are security options that they can take into account, but they won't be cheap. CSO reports that while nearly 30 percent of the business world still uses XP, continuing that use will be costly. Microsoft is currently offering continued dedicated support for the next three years, but at the price tag of $200 for the first year, then double and quadruple that amount for the second and third, respectively.

In addition, six different anti-malware options will be in place for continued support, but none pledge their services past mid-2016, and many will end services much before that.

Other options that businesses can take include an approach that centers around BYOD, where workers use their own, more modern devices in the workplace, or a "ramping up" policy, where upgrades are centered around the most important aspects of the business first. No matter what, this impending change will cause a direct need for action in the near future.

IT and tech industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in information technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.