The time has arrived: Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP and there won't be any patches or updates available.

But many businesses are still to upgrade. In fact, it is estimated that up to 30 per cent of desktops are still running the outdated operating system.

If you are one of the smaller businesses that is still running XP, your time has run out. If you don't act today, your systems could be infected with an influx of attacks, such as drive by downloads and zero day hacks.

If you continue to run XP, you will also have to pay for Microsoft to continue to support you. Estimates are that this could amount to around $200 per PC each month.

What to do now

If you are still running XP, you have probably made sure you are patched until now. It is also a good idea to look at additional security products from other vendors.

On top of this, it is advisable to identify machines running XP and isolate them from the network where possible. This means if the machine is compromised, attackers won't be able to access your network.

Although effective, these options are just prolonging the inevitable. It's time to get the ball rolling. Microsoft says upgrading from XP can take up to 30 months. However, small businesses that use Dell services can make the process quicker, easier and cheaper, often halving the time taken to upgrade.

What Windows 8 can do for your business

By upgrading to Windows 8, Microsoft's most comprehensive overhaul of its operating system yet, firms can increase their productivity and efficiency. This is made possible by enhanced mobility and apps to suit businesses of all sizes.

Now the April 8 deadline has arrived, it can not be denied: time really has run out for XP. The operating system is now extremely vulnerable to attack, making it urgent to upgrade.