As you might already read, Microsoft is stopping support for it’s Windows Server 2003 operating system and as you recall from the Windows XP end of support last year, continuing to have a non supported operating system can have a few business implications that you need to be aware of, so we wanted to take the time to outline what businesses should know regarding the Windows Server 2003 End of Support on July 14th, 2015 and the big question of what does this mean for my business?
According to Microsoft, it means that after July 14th, 2015 Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. If you are still running a Windows 2003 in your network, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure and migrate to a supported version of the server operating system. Not upgrading and keeping Windows 2003 servers past the July deadline will put your business at risk from a security perspective and potentially non-compliant to industry specific regulations.
But what does having a server with Microsoft support does for me? Microsoft sends patches and updates for your operating system that your IT company tests and then deploys to your computers and servers. These patches protects your network from viruses, hackers and other malware. Sometimes malware programmers wait for a vulnerability to be known, so that they then create viruses that would attack those that did not update their systems. Having a non-supported system will make this system a target.
Click here for a link to Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 EOS Awareness Video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeGflP1D-1E#t=31
Besides making your computer more vulnerable to threats and out of compliance with PCI, HIPPA, FINRA among other industry regulations it also presents an opportunity for improvements since the newer operating system can bring both reliability and productivity enhancements that are beneficial to your company. So what can your company do to prepare for the change?
- Hardware Compatibility: Talk to your IT provider about whether your not your existing server is compatible with the latest or at least the next version of Windows Server (Server 2012 is recommended)
- Application Compatibility: Find out from your software vendors if applications that are running on this server are compatible with the updated versions of windows server. Otherwise upgrade to the latest version of the application that does support the new OS.
- Financial Aspect: Having to do a capital investment in a new system presents the perfect opportunity explore whether it makes sense to take some of the components being upgraded to the Cloud, explore applications such as Email, Databases or File Storage. The cloud allows you to migrate your applications to a cloud based compliant environment without the upfront costs.
- Planning: Have your IT provider create a project plan for the transition and select dates where there is minimal downtime. As an example if the server being upgraded is your payrol or financial application server, you don’t want to plan the switch over around payroll days.
Synetek Solutions is a technology provider that focuses on Managed IT Services, Cloud + Infrastructure management, VOIP Telephony and Custom Application Development. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions/concerns regarding existing Windows Servers in your environment so that we can start a discovery discussion. Visit us at www.syneteksolutions.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org