Microsoft Nigeria on Wednesday announced July 14, 2015 as the expiry date for its Windows Server 2003 Operating System, which powers over 35 million payment cards, popularly known as Automated Teller Machine cards, currently in circulation in the country.
The Managing Director and Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Kabelo Makwane, who stated this at a press conference on Wednesday announcing the company’s end-of-support for the WS 2003 operating system, which has been in existence for 12 years, however, said the American company was already in discussion with Nigerian banks and other organisations using the OS over the development.
The Group Director, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Business, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Yomi Alarape, said the company was already advising Nigerian banks and discussions were currently ongoing on how the lenders would migrate to the Windows 2012 or Microsoft Cloud platform within the shortest possible time because they would no longer provide security updates, technical updates and patches for the Windows Server 2003.
Alarape, who stressed that Microsoft would not postpone the July 14 expiry date, noted that the WS 2003 operating system had exceeded its five-year normal product life cycle and an extended life cycle of five years.
Apart from the risks of being hit by hackers, the expert said banks that failed to migrate before the July 14 date ran the risk of being fined by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, the global body that regulates banks and other companies that deal with payment cards.
“This actually provides opportunity for the banks and other companies using WS 2003 to have a rethink about the way they are doing their business because it bothers on compliance, security, costs, competiveness and other issues.”
The Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Nigeria, Mr. Olayinka Oni, said the company would engage with the Central bank of Nigeria and the banks in order to facilitate discussions that would help the banks to comply ahead of the July 14 deadline.
Although the WS 2003 expiration date is close, he expressed hope that all the banks would beat the deadline.
“Banks that issue cards are PCIDSS-certified. This certification is renewed every year. Any bank that fails to migrate will risk not getting its PCIDSS certification renewed. So, no bank will want to do that,” he said.