Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support: What It Means for Your Business

In July 2015, Microsoft will end support for Windows Server 2003, and your business – along with millions of others worldwide – could begin experiencing devastating effects if you haven’t migrated to a modern platform.

windows server 2003

What is the End of Support?

The end of support (EOS) means that Microsoft will no longer issue patches or security updates to address reported vulnerabilities, so these servers will quickly become targets for hackers everywhere. If your organization stores sensitive information or runs critical applications on any Windows Server 2003, not only will the EOS leave your system more susceptible to viruses and other security breaches, you will also be at an increased risk of violating PCI, HIPAA, and other industry compliance standards.

How Could a Data Breach Impact My Business?

You probably won’t experience problems overnight, however, security threats will only increase over time since Microsoft won’t release any new fixes for these bugs. Unauthorized access to sensitive data can have the following impacts on your business:

  • Loss of Integrity
    Most states now have security data breach notification laws that require businesses to report any loss data due to security breaches to its customers and regulators. Will your customers still do business with you if their personal information is at risk?
  • Failure to Comply
    If your organization processes regulated data such as credit card information or patient records, failure to comply to industry specific standards may result in hefty fines or even worse, a suspension of partnership with key vendors for using unsupported systems.

What Do I Need to Do?

The average migration takes anywhere from six months to one year, but no need to panic just yet. Your infrastructure won’t fail immediately, but doing nothing over the time will definitely have consequences.

If you have servers running Windows Server 2003, check out this helpful guide from Microsoft that includes four steps you can take to ensure a successful migration.

  1. Discover – Identify how many Windows 2003 servers you have on your network and what applications are running on them. This will allow you to define the scope of your migration.
  2. Assess – Categorize which applications and workloads are mission-critical and which applications you can consolidate or retire as a result of underutilization.
  3. Target – Select the applications you want to migrate and choose a destination for each one.
  4. Migrate – Build a solid plan. Microsoft recommends a move to Windows Server 2012, however, you may also consider moving to a Linux-based server or a cloud-based solution depending on your needs.

Where Can I Get Help?

In many ways, the EOS for Windows Server 2003 is similar to the Windows XP expiration of 2014 – during which time many businesses underestimated the complexity of a migration and failed to develop a solid plan or allow enough time for completion. Such negligence can result in haphazard, risky migrations that can compromise network stability and cause functionality issues that require immediate and costly attention.

Need help developing a plan? Contact our team at Xcel Office Solutions today. We can help you evaluate your network infrastructure, develop a clear plan for migration, and assist you during the process to ensure a smooth transition.

And during the month of June, we’re offering our customers a FREE NETWORK ASSESSMENT that includes a comprehensive evaluation to identify potential issues and recommendations based on best practices and your specific needs.

To learn more about our IT services, contact us today at Xcel Office Solutions or visit us online at www.xceloffice.com. You can also learn more about the end of support for Windows Server 2003 by visiting the Microsoft website.

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