It’s time to say goodbye to Windows server 2003

Technology has developed dramatically over recent years. Many people depend on technology to go about their day to day life. Technology has become the focal point of many people’s work and social life providing an easy way to keeping in touch with colleagues and friends. As technology improves, operating systems need to as well.

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14th, 2015. Whilst many firms are working to migrate their applications and data off aging servers as quickly as possible, a fair number are not migrating for a variety of reasons including the financial cost.

As a registered Microsoft Partner Telemat can help you find a suitable solution and support with upgrading.

Risks of running Windows Server 2003 Beyond its End-of-life

Windows Server 2003 Infographic

Microsoft will no longer issue security updates, hot fixes or online support. Failure to upgrade your systems can have a variety of consequences:

  • No Updates

Microsoft reported that there were 37 critical updates released in 2013 for Windows Server 2003. After July 14th, 2015 there will be no further updates. Microsoft strongly advises you do not expose yourself to these risks by upgrading today.

  • Security Risks

You can expect increased exposure to major vulnerabilities and cyber security attacks on your computer systems, databases and applications running on Windows Server 2003. After July 14, 2015, Microsoft will no longer release bug fixes and new vulnerabilities won’t be addressed, which means your Windows Server 2003 systems will become a huge security risk.

  • Risk of high failure rate

If you are running Windows Server 2003, chances are your hardware is at least a decade old, which means it is long out of support from the vendor and also well past its recommended operational life. By not upgrading you run the risk of high failure rate, which could mean lost data.

  • No Compliance

Lack of compliance with various standards and regulations can be problematic. Windows 2003 servers will not pass a compliance audit. Lack of PCI compliance could mean that Visa & MasterCard will no longer do business with an organisation.

  • No Savings

Without support, you can expect the cost of workloads running on Windows Server 2003 to go up. Staying put will result in mounting operational expenses, as well as the additional investments you’ll need to make to keep them secure.

What are the options for small and medium sized businesses?

Cloud IT Solutions

If you are still running Windows Server 2003 you need to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. Migration is the only way you can protect your system from possible disruption and security risks.

Sure, you could just move to the next version of Windows Server, but this is a good time to consider switching operating systems. Here are some options you could consider:

  1. Staying inside the Windows world

If you are accustomed to Microsoft products, then your most straightforward option is to migrate to Windows Server 2012. Take a look at Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Migration Planning Assistant and Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit to map out the best option to upgrade your current system.

  1. Making the Move to Linux

If you don’t have custom applications that require the Microsoft platform, now might be a good time to make the switch to a small business Linux server. A few of the more popular Linux small business server alternatives include:

  • Univention Corporate Server,
  • Zentyal SMB Edition
  • Igaware Small Business Server.

You might also consider building a Linux server from scratch. The key to a successful Linux migration is pulling it off without users noticing a difference. They should be able to map drives, read email, and schedule meetings the same way they could before.

  1. Considering the Cloud

Many people are hesitant to venture into the unknown. Luckily for those who ventured in the cloud, the benefits have been plentiful. It is vital that businesses plan the transition process carefully giving yourself extra time to get used to a new system.

When considering migrating to the cloud there are many solutions available for you to choose from:

  • If you rely on your Windows Server 2003 mainly for file storage, then you can use Microsoft Azure Storage.
  • However, if you’re a small business, then you might want to consider cloud document storage solutions like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, where you will gain simplicity at the cost of control and flexibility.
  • If you’re running Microsoft Exchange for email and calendaring, then you can replace it with a hosted Exchange service such as Microsoft’s Exchange Online.
  • You can also use Office 365 for hosted Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync applications.
  • You can even leave Microsoft’s fold completely with Google Apps or try the new WorkMail, Amazon’s cloud email service for businesses with full support for Outlook.

It’s time to act. What is your action plan?