In a recent survey, we found that over 96% of schools in the United States are likely to face a major technology crisis in the new year when Windows XP will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Educational institutions of all sizes around the world are going to have to foot the bill of upgrading not only their operating system but also their hardware.
Schools that don’t upgrade to a new operating system by the April 2014 cut-off could be at risk. The withdrawal of support means that there will be no updates such as security patches, driver refreshes, or bug fixes — all of which are essential for networked personal computers, where protection of children and information is especially important.
At AVAST, we took a closer look at the costs schools will face: The cost of upgrading from Windows XP to a more recent operating system is approximately $200 per computer and it is not likely to stop there. Many schools are also facing the expense of upgrading their hardware as well since hardware older than three years is unlikely to be able to support Windows 7 and beyond. The cost to schools in this situation could run into tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To help alleviate some of the burden, we created the Free for Education program which provides bullet-proof antivirus protection completely free to schools in the United States. Institutions can save an average of more than $14,000 USD per year by taking advantage of this program.
A great example of how AVAST’s Free for Education has benefited a local school system is the ABC Unified School District in Cerritos, California. With the program, they have saved over $40,000 USD. “With AVAST Free for Education we were able to take some strain off of our budget,” said Joe, Machado, Network Analyst at ABC Schools. “Our savings in licensing alone will be at least $20,000 USD per year. And, our savings in time from cleaning up outbreaks from unprotected or under-protected systems is easily another $20,000 USD per year.”
Since launching in November 2012, the AVAST Free for Education program has protected over 2.8 million computers and servers belonging to over 1,800 education institutions. If you are interested in more information or to participate in the program, please visit: www.avast.com/education
 AVAST Software survey amongst 164 educational institutions, July 2013