The long anticipated End of Life has come. As of today Microsoft will no longer support Windows Server 2003. As it has been with all previous operation systems, such as Windows XP, Microsoft has terminated all ongoing updates and patches so as to focus their assets on other product lines.
At first glance, Windows ending support for the Server 2003 operating system may not seem like a big deal. However, this is not the case. When Microsoft support ends for an operating system there are several direct consequences that can quickly place your business at risk.
1. Microsoft Will Not Be Providing Security Updates
Unfortunately, operating systems are constantly under attack from new cyber threats. Once support is ended for an operating system, no further software updates will be provided from Microsoft. This means that your computers will be at risk to any new security threats, potentially leaving sensitive information and the day-to-day functioning of your business at risk.
2. Microsoft Will Not Be Providing Technological Support
Not only will you no longer have access to security updates, but Microsoft will not be providing any kind of technological support to those using the Windows Server 2003 operating system. This means that if you run in to any kind of issues with your computers and contact Microsoft (either directly or through your IT provider) there will be no one who can help you to solve them.
3. Microsoft Will Not Be Providing New Software Updates
Computer software is constantly evolving in any number of small ways to keep up with advances being made in technology. After July 14, 2015, Windows will no longer be providing software updates to applications that run on the Windows Server 2003 operating system. This means that the applications and programs you use in your company’s daily operations will become incompatible with new software being used by others in your industry, and that you will not be able to experience any new features developed for your existing applications.
4. You will no longer be compliant with your industry regulatory body.
Compliance issues are closely linked to the loss of on-going support from Microsoft. Without updates and patches for software being run on this operating system, it is easy for software to become out-of-date. While in some industries this will not have immediate effects on the day-to-day functioning of computer tasks, this is a significant issue for any businesses that deal with sensitive information in industries where compliance is required.
Without on-going updates for your software, cybersecurity risks are greatly increased as your operating system becomes unprotected against any new security threats. Some may think that there are other routes to achieving cybersecurity through extra diligence or tools provided by a third party, but this is simply not the case. While some independent security venders are offering tools that they claim will protect computers still running the 2003 operating system, these tools are not an effective replacement for a server upgrade. Without continued updates from Microsoft, any business running the Windows Server 2003 Operating System will no longer be secure after July 14th. If your business is not able to meet compliance requirements after this date, you could face serious repercussions from your industry’s regulatory bodies.
If you are a business that is still using the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Operating System we highly recommend that you consult with your IT professional to insure that your data remains safe. The longer you wait to make this change the greater your risk of data loss and security repercussions will become.