Windows Server 2003 End of Life – Coming July 2015

5/28/15 10:36 AM iCorps Technologies

Would you drive a car without seatbelts or airbags? Would you board a plane that didn’t run its travelers through a security check?

When it comes to our personal security, we tend to take it pretty seriously, don’t we? 

But when it comes to business data and the security of our business, some companies may get a little too attached to the very systems that could be putting them at risk…  

So, we have a bit of a reality check for businesses still running on Windows Server 2003.

It’s time.

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Alas, all good things must come to an end. Especially in the world of technology when cyber threats are a serious security concern for your business.  

If you’re attached to Windows 2003, we can sympathize. Launching Windows Server in April 2003, the server software became a hit (especially because it was based on the company’s already popular Windows XP interface). Deemed by Computerworld as “Microsoft's first ultra-successful server operating system,” many organizations never felt the need to upgrade as 2003 was working so well. But even if you believe your 2003 server is humming along just fine like your well-maintained 1999 Toyota Corolla, we’re not talking apples to apples here.

It’s time to say buh-bye as Microsoft prepares to pull the sheets over Windows Server 2003 and puts it down for good.

Extended support for Windows Server 2003 will end on July 14, 2015, just over a year since the company ended support for Windows XP.

Businesses have a few options when it comes to upgrading Windows Server 2003. In staying with the Windows Server family, users can migrate to Windows Server 2012 R2. Other alternatives include migrating to Microsoft Azure (Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud computing platform), or moving to Microsoft Office 365.

Technically, you COULD drag your feet and continue running Windows Server 2003, but here are here are 3 ways you’d be putting your business at risk by doing so:

1)  No safe haven or compliance

Since Microsoft will no longer be providing security patches and upgrades for Windows Server 2003, software will be vulnerable to hackers and leave you defenseless. Did you know that 37 critical updates were released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003/R2? After July 14th, no more updates means no more safe haven. Additionally, customers who are in regulated industries or store and manage data with specific regulations (i.e. healthcare and financial data), may be out of compliance due to the lack of security support.

2)  Financial Strain

Delaying the inevitable will cost your company more money in the long run. The July 14th deadline is coming soon, and for most companies is non-negotiable. Microsoft is offering some individual contracts for special extended life support for their largest customers who need more time to migrate their servers. However these contracts come at a high minimum entry cost and will only be granted if the organization has a migration plan in place. Continued use of Windows Server 2003 may also mean having to dish out extra dollars to pay for an in-house systems engineer who can provide support, not to mention the added costs for intrusion detection systems, advanced firewalls and other security measures.  

3) Increased Risk of Data Loss

Even if your organization manages to continue running Microsoft Server 2003 successfully in-house, the lack of enterprise support means an increased risk of data loss. A catastrophic system failure may be irreversible as Microsoft will no longer be supporting the server operating system. This means that any major system disruption could result in a significant and irreversible loss of data.

Let us give it to you straight. Whatever your excuse is for not putting a plan in place to migrate off of Windows Server 2003, it’s simply just got not good enough.  “Migration” may sound painful, but finding an IT solutions partner that can help you make the jump will ensure business continuity and security in the long term, and ultimately keep you from feeling the real pain of an unsupported server system.

Not sure where to start with your migration from Windows Server 2003?  Learn how iCorps can help.

With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. iCorps delivers superior IT outsourcing, IT support and technology solutions implemented by the best consultants in the BostonPhiladelphia and New York (NY) areas.