Support for Windows Server 2003 is ending this July. What does it mean for your organisation?
13th May 2015
Is your business still using Windows Server 2003? If you are, or you think you might be, now is the time to think about a plan for the future. From July 2015, support for Microsoft for Server 2003 will end and there isn’t long left to consider the alternatives.
What this means for businesses
If you are running Windows Server 2003, the end of support will mean…
No more security updates
From July no new security updates or patches will be issued for Windows Server 2003. This means there will be no support for protecting your server or its applications. This presents such a big risk some are calling it the ‘biggest security threat’ to businesses of 2015.
Risk of viruses and data loss
The lack of security updates means you risk being attacked by viruses, spyware and malware. A bug on your server could leave your business paralysed if it causes programs to stop working, data loss or file corruption. If hackers are successful at gaining access to your network, data breaches are also a threat.
The end of support means that Windows Server 2003 no longer meets industry compliance standards. If you work in a regulated field or need to comply with PCI, HIPAA, SOX or similar, you will need to move to a compliant solution.
Once Server 2003 is no longer being updated, applications designed to run on it are also likely to cease being updated, plus no new compatible apps are likely to be released.
What you can do about it
Doing nothing is not recommended. Neither by us or by Microsoft. It leaves you unsupported and wide open to security breaches. Some larger businesses Microsoft may extend support but this is only available to customers who have a migration plan in place and doesn’t come cheap, with the quoted price of $600 (around £383) per server per year, doubling each year. This is clearly not an option for most businesses.
Wait until later
Waiting is also not recommended. Migration is not an instantaneous process and depending on the complexity of your systems, could take a few weeks to complete. If you do decide to keep running Windows Server 2003 until a later date, you will need to ensure you have adequate protection and that you are not putting your network and data at risk.
Plan for migration
Realistically, at some point all businesses running Microsoft Server 2003 will need to make a plan for migration (ideally, sooner rather than later). There are several different options for migration, depending on the software you are running currently and your requirements for the future. These might include moving to a newer server operating system, moving to Microsoft Office 365 and even upgrading your server hardware.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I manage migration in-house?
Although you may be able to manage migration in-house if you have a skilled IT team, migration from Windows Server 2003 is not straightforward. Sadly there is no simple upgrade path from Windows Server 2003, so the migration plan will be different for every business. You will need someone with the expertise to assess your current systems and applications, plus your future requirements, and plan a solution for migration accordingly.
What if I don’t know if I am using Microsoft Server 2003?
Get in touch and we can assess your current server setup completely free of charge.
What are the benefits of moving away from Server 2003?
In addition to protecting your business applications and data, migrating to a more modern solution is likely to benefit your business in a number of other ways. Your current hardware could be up to ten years old, meaning it will be slow, inefficient and out of date. In contrast, more modern solutions are:
- More reliable.
- More secure.
- Cheaper to run.
- Better for disaster recovery.
Need help migrating from Windows Server 2003?
Contact us for a no-obligation assessment of your current server setup and to discuss your options for the future.
Get more help at our next event
Our next Meet The Experts event is taking place on the 20th May between 6 and 7.30pm. Come along to find out more about Windows Server 2003 migration options, see a demo of some Windows 2012 r2 features, plus learn about how Sharepoint could benefit your business from guest speaker Steve Bloomer.