What to expect as Windows Server 2003 reaches End of Life
On July 14, 2015 Microsoft will be ending support for the Windows Server 2003 operating system. This may seem like a piece of news that has no effect on your business, but if you are still using the Windows Server 2003 at that date you may find yourself with more technological difficulties than you bargained for. While this date has been announced for several months, millions of 2003 systems have yet to be migrated to an updated server.
Even more concerning is a projection by the system consultant group Avanade that one in every five businesses will not make necessary changes to their server set-up before this date. In order to protect your business, you should begin to work with your IT professional to establish a server migration plan that will fit your company’s individual needs and ensure a smooth transition away from Windows Server 2003.
What does ‘ending support’ mean?
Microsoft ending support for the Windows Server 2003 Operating System means that Microsoft will no longer be providing software updates for programs that run on the 2003 platform, will not be providing technical support for any machines running this operating system, and will not be creating new security updates.
How will this affect my business?
Computers running the Windows Server 2003 Operating System will still be functional, so you may not immediately notice any issues with your day-to-day business. However, the lack of software updates will meant that many third-party applications will no longer work effectively on your existing system, and that updates to your existing software may make them incompatible with Windows Server 2003 Operating System. Furthermore, a lack of technical support from Microsoft means that you may be left struggling to fix any problems on your own should something go wrong. Of highest concern is the lack of new security updates – without patches for new security threats or viruses your business faces many risks, including the loss of confidentiality or data availability.
What steps should I be taking to protect my business?
There is unfortunately no way to keep your information secure and technology functioning optimally using Windows Server 2003 Operating System. For this reason, it is important for you to have a discussion with your IT professional so that you can ensure your data and applications are securely transferred to a new server or cloud-based hosting environment. If you have this conversation in the near future you will have plenty of time to establish a plan before the July 14th end-service date.
The Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Operating System has been available for the past eleven years, and may have been the only system used by your business during this time. If so it can seem overwhelming to consider making a change. However, by being proactive in your approach to this change you will be able to prevent any security, troubleshooting, and compatibility concerns that will arise once Microsoft ends their extended support of the 2003 Operating System.