PCS has become aware of an issue with the PCS customer portal called "Utilit-e Online" and customers who are using older PC's that use Microsoft XP operating system and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to access the Utilit-e Online Portal.
The PCS' computer server hosting Utilit-e Online has been upgraded to Windows 2012 as part of standard maintenance upgrade. This migration invoked newer and higher level security standards. It has recently come to our attention that Internet Explorer (IE) running on PC’s with Windows XP are not compatible with these new higher level security protocols called SSL.
Windows XP was released in 2003, and now 10 years later Microsoft has made a decision not to support the XP operating system and the IE browser connecting to the newer Windows 2012 platform. This is all about the SSL certificate and the compatibility of the browsers. PCS has discovered running a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome will permit access to Utilit-e Online on XP.
As you may or may not be aware, Microsoft is going to stop all support for all Windows XP operating systems by April 2014. Microsoft has already stopped development on the OS and are only delivering security updates at this time. So we see only a limited number of options to work around this issue and they include:
The second option does not fix the issue, only provides a short term work around. For clients using the PCS Employee Portal, access to the portal by employees and staff is supported in XP today, but the Portal application will have to migrate at some point in the future also.
We are seeing that many of our utility partners are upgrading the older XP computers. We hope the trend by the general public will be same. This is not just a PCS issue, more so the industry in general. Within a short period of time in the future, banking software, travel sites, online retail, etc. will have the same issues.
In a bigger picture, we believe that PCS needs to support the latest in security software, releases, patches, etc. PCS is disappointed to discover this issue based on moving to the latest release of the software, but we feel it is important to keep up with security standards. While we have been researching options other than the two mentioned above, we do not expect any to be developed for Windows XP by Microsoft.
The security of your customer information is very important to PCS. As such we wanted to provide this communication to identify the known issue. PCS will continue to monitor and provide any informational updates as we are made aware of them. Please do not hesitate to call the PCS ITS Team if you have any questions.
The PCS Admin and ITS Team