Windows Server 2003 End-of-Support Looms. Are You Ready?

 

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Microsoft Windows Server 2003 has long been a very secure and reliable server operating system, which is why it is still used by a large number of small businesses and large enterprises. Organizations have been hesitant to migrate to a newer system because Windows Server 2003 still works fine, and many are worried that migrating will disrupt business operations and require significant hardware investments.

One of the reasons why Windows Server 2003 continues to work well is because Microsoft continues to provide security updates and paid-per-incident support, even after mainstream support ended four years ago. However, extended support for Windows Server 2003 is scheduled to end July 14, 2015.

After this date, organizations running Windows Server 2003 will no longer receive security patches. The system may continue to work, but the risk of a security breach will be high as hackers tend to target users of unsupported operating systems. This is even more of a security concern than it was when Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April. While XP only affected desktops, a security breach involving an entire server could potentially cripple business operations. In addition, organizations that continue to run Windows Server 2003 will eventually run to compatibility issues with new applications and software, which can limit choices and hamper productivity.

Organizations in regulated industries risk becoming noncompliant if they fail to upgrade to a new server operating system. For example, if you store medical records, payment card information or personal financial data, you should be viewing the end-of-support deadline for Windows Server 2003 with a heightened sense of urgency. The consequences of compliance violations range from heavy fines to customer lawsuits.

Instead of viewing server migration as a hassle, look at this inevitable technological modernization as an opportunity. While new hardware may be necessary to support a more sophisticated operating system, you’re likely to get more computing power, functionality and virtualization capabilities with less hardware. This can improve productivity and performance while reducing overhead. You may also find that it makes good business sense to move some or all of your server workloads to the cloud, which can further reduce costs and relieve your in-house IT department of day-to-day server maintenance.

July 15, 2015, may seem light years away until you realize how much planning and coordination goes into migration. You need to take inventory of and analyze your current environment and assess workloads. You need to determine what approach will be best-suited to support current and future business operations. Once you choose a solution, you need time to design, build, test, monitor and deploy the solution in order to avoid disruptive downtime.

Organizations using Windows Server 2003 need to start planning for migration now. Atlantic-IT.net, your outsourced IT department, can assess your existing environment and business operations and guide you through the migration process. Let us help you develop a cost-efficient, seamless migration strategy that supports and enhances your business processes.