The April 8 deadline is looming, yet many firms are still using Windows XP.

The operating system will soon be at risk: according to experts, it is likely XP will be targeted by hackers when End of Support hits on 8th April.

Despite this, it is estimated that as many as 30 per cent of firms have not upgraded from XP. These businesses are missing out on the benefits of Microsoft's upgraded operating system Windows 8, such as the ability to modernise IT investments through dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice and higher user productivity.

So why are so many firms still to migrate?

1. Cost savings

Some businesses believe that staying with Windows XP will cut costs as they delay investments in new hardware. However, sticking with XP can prove to be the expensive option.

Microsoft will no longer patch the operating system after 8th April, so support for it will come at a price: on top of extra anti-virus software, businesses could have to pay a fee per PC each year to support XP.

After April, Windows XP will become particularly vulnerable to security breaches and, if attackers are successful, it could be a huge expense to the business. Staff productivity could be affected and you could even be liable for a fine if any of your data is stolen.

It will require an initial investment, but upgrading to Windows 8 could save these unnecessary costs.

2. Time

Many businesses are concerned about the time it will take to migrate to another operating system; it can take larger firms up to 30 months.

However, the lean nature of smaller businesses can be an advantage and make it much easier to migrate. Meanwhile, with services that address application, hardware and PC deployment readiness, using Dell Migration Services the process can be quick and easy.

Dell claims that by using its Deployment Services and Optimized Deployment mode, businesses can reduce desktop setup time by 88 per cent and IT costs by up to 55 per cent.

And once you have upgraded, the time savings will be vast. Using an operating system such as Windows 8.1 will increase your employees' productivity, enabling a more mobile and efficient workforce.

3. Hardware and legacy applications

It is likely you will need a hardware refresh when upgrading from XP, and this can persuade many businesses to delay migration. On top of this, a large number of firms are using legacy applications that only work on XP.

But a hardware refresh is an investment that can cut your costs and increase productivity by helping create more engaged and efficient staff. Businesses that upgrade will also lower total cost of ownership by future-proofing their IT investments.

Dell's Windows 8 PCs are designed for productivity with next-generation operating systems, 4th-generation Intel core processors and batteries that last up to nine hours.

Meanwhile, using Dell Migration and Deployment services, many applications can be switched over with minimal hassle to the business.

4. Ease of use/end user training

Moving to a new operating system can require staff training. However, the workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, and employees are demanding devices that will support them both in the office and on the move. In order to do this, they need an operating system that will support them with services such as cloud.

This flexibility is already available, with Windows 8 offering a broad device choice to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, as well as the consumer-grade functionality that users require.

5. Fear of the new

Many businesses stick with XP simply because they are used to it - and this can make change daunting.

However, the functionality that comes with Windows 8 should far outweigh any fears of upgrading. There is no need to delay: the latest Windows iteration is said to be the most extensive overhaul of Microsoft's operating system yet.

Combined with Dell devices, Windows 8.1 offers agility and scalability on top of enterprise-grade security.