At RSA Europe in Amsterdam today, my colleague Mike Reavey, General Manager of the Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft, announced the release of the Security Intelligence Report Volume 15. The report provides the latest data on exploits, malware and security trends from more than a billion systems worldwide and is a great resource for our commercial customers on how to mitigate security risks.

This year’s report looks at the security implications of running an unsupported operating system compared with modern versions of Windows. The report is timely as we are nearly five months from the end of support deadline for Windows XP. After more than 12 years of support, April 8, 2014 marks the day Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, non-security hot fixes or technical support for Windows XP.

The release of Windows 8.1 earlier this month represents a significant milestone for our business customers with great security enhancements, including remote business data removal, improved biometrics support, pervasive device encryption, improved Internet Explorer, malware resistance and device lockdown. These features, coupled with new devices that build security into the hardware itself, help ensure and maintain device integrity (UEFI - Secure Boot) and data protection (TPM - Encryption), providing business customers with an added layer of security not available on the older hardware.

Beyond security, Windows 8.1 adds a substantial set of new capabilities for business customers from advanced manageability and BYOD support, to mobility and networking. Windows 8.1 is designed to help organizations drive their business forward with increased productivity, whether it be through connected mobile scenarios to enable new business opportunities, or leveraging technology to better streamline existing processes.

With the one year anniversary of Windows 8 behind us, we are also seeing more enterprise customers move away from Windows XP to Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 – like Campari Australia and Meiji Yasuda – who have chosen a more modern operating system to give their workers the tools they need to be productive while keeping their data secure.

And this fall, we are also seeing variety of new devices currently on the market and arriving over the next weeks as the holiday season approaches. With many new devices delivering up to all-day battery life and faster processing power, these new devices can deliver increased productivity, mobility and performance. And this fall, we’re seeing OEMs deliver a variety of new form factors – from convertible laptops to tablets ranging in size from 8” to over 20” to traditional desktops with a mouse and keyboard that meet the diverse business requirements of our customers.

Upgrade to a more modern operating system that provides ongoing protection. For more information on how you can make the move to Windows 8.1, small- and medium-sized businesses can visit www.get2modern.com and enterprise customers can visit the latest Springboard blog post on how to migrate to the new operating system.