Twelve years after its release, Microsoft has scheduled to end mainstream support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This move essentially pulls the plug on the popular operating system, leaving any business using the server OS after its end-of-support date vulnerable. If your organization is still running this outdated OS, you need to update ASAP.
To achieve reliable security and efficiency for your company’s network, it’s best practice to use the latest versions of a software. Achieving this requires you to update your system every few years or so, not once per decade. The reasoning behind this is twofold: 1) Running the latest software will equip your company with recent solutions, providing your business with the competitive edge, and 2) Software that’s up-to-date is best protected against the latest security threats, due to the software manufacturer providing the latest security patches. When a software like Windows Server 2003 (or Windows XP) loses support like this, your computer is no longer protected and will be vulnerable to the latest online threats.
If you happen to really love Windows Server 2003 and wish to continue using it after July 14th, you can have Microsoft provide custom support, but it will cost your company upwards of $200,000, according to Processor magazine. This isn’t a tangible option for SMBs. Your best bet is to upgrade to a newer version. We should also point out that, if you’re in an industry dealing with sensitive information, like health care, then you may be legally obligated to upgrade to a supported software or else face hefty fines.
Upgrading from Windows Server 2003 isn’t too difficult, but it does require a knowledgeable assessment to first be done. For example, trying to move an older application running off a 32-bit operating system to a newer 64-bit system may require some troubleshooting done by a professional. Additionally, any time you take a server offline to work on it, careful planning must be done so that your downtime is minimized. By making a detailed plan and timetable for server work like this, you’ll be able to quickly upgrade and avoid being derailed by any unforeseen issues.
Tektonic can map out your server work so that your company isn’t offline any more than you need to be. If upgrading your server looks to be a time-consuming project, or if your business is accessing your server unit at all hours of the day, then we can temporarily migrate your data to another unit so you can keep your company’s operations going strong.
Lastly, two practical moves that a business running Windows Server 2003 may want to consider is upgrading their old problem-prone hardware, or migrating their data to the cloud in order to gain anywhere access and outsource maintenance costs. Cloud computing, server replacement, and even server virtualization are all valid options that every business owner should consider if their equipment is more than five years old, which is likely the case for Windows Server 2003 users.
Losing support for Windows Server 2003 isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can view this as an opportunity to revamp your network and make it more efficient. Contact Tektonic at (416) 256-9928 for a free IT assessment and help with all of your upgrading needs.