Just as you find some breathing space after upgrading your PC estate and throwing away all those old Windows XP licences Microsoft has another date for your diary. July 14, 2015 (yes this year) is the end of Microsoft support for Windows Server 2003/R2. It’s not that far off and experience shows that any upgrade or migration of this nature needs good planning and preparation. You can, of course, take a chance and stay with Server 2003 until it breaks but here’s why you shouldn’t:
- Updates – from July 15th onwards Microsoft will not develop or release any updates or patches to Windows Server 2003. Any new security threats arising after this date will not be addressed and this puts your business and clients at risk if you continue to run Server 2003;
- Compliance – Many businesses operate under regulation concerning the security and privacy of data. Whilst the governing bodies may not advise specifically on this Server 2003 issue you can be sure that the implications leave you at risk of becoming non-compliant. Compliance is about validating and ensuring that your systems are viable, secure and risk free. And then the confidential data that you hold for your clients will be safe and secure.
- Competitive advantage – if you’re using older technology than your competitors it’s likely that you’re missing out. How quickly can you add new systems? Setup new staff? New offices? Can you offer solid remote working to attract the best staff? Can you give your clients what they are asking for?
But it’s not all negative. There are many benefits and opportunities to come out of an upgrade to your IT infrastructure. Or you may choose to take advantage of the many hosted and managed services that have reached maturity in the past 10 years whilst your Server 2003 assets have been painfully sweated.
Server 2012 provides enhancements far beyond the capabilities of Server 2003 for example:
- Much better and simpler remote access to systems, data and email;
- More storage options;
- Increased security;
- Better and easier management and automation;
Now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to address this opportunity, what route you will take, the resources that you will need and the results you can expect.
In short, you have 3 options and one of those isn’t really an option:
- Leave it as it is. It generally works and you have much better things to do;
- Replace your old on-premise hardware and software with the latest Server 2012 and new hardware to run it on. You can be certain that your old server hardware won’t work.
- Migrate to a cloud or hosted solution and have somebody else worry about it.
Get in touch with Frank Manning to talk about whether you should be looking towards on premise, in the cloud or a combination of both on a hybrid platform. We can help you to make the right decisions from the beginning – as experience shows that’s where it can all start to get messy!