Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Support Ends July 14th

Microsoft has announced that after July 14th 2015 it will no longer be issuing security updates for its Windows Server 2003 which essentially means that support for this product officially ends. The lack of security updates will of course mean that anyone still using a Windows Server 2003 in their datacentre will be facing the risk of leaving their infrastructure vulnerable to multiple problems and security breaches.

Time To Migrate

The advice from Microsoft is (if you haven’t already done so) is to plan and execute a migration strategy from your Windows Server 2003 to a current and supported server such as Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365. 

The Plan

The Microsoft Website features a handy online Planning Assistant that outlines the migration process phrases from first discovering exactly what is running on your server, then assessing which of your apps are “critical, complicated, depreciated and risky”, planning where you will move or migrate or reinvent workloads, right through to the migration itself and remediating any issues. See for details.

Why Should You Get Current?

The lack of support and the increased risk that exists in an environment where new and ever more inventive online security threats are common and where there are legal and regulatory requirements are strong motivators to migrate.  There is of course also the wish and the need to protect your own infrastructure investments, valuable company data and information assets, and the continued smooth running of your business processes.

Although your Windows Server 2003 Server will of course still continue work after July 14th if you wanted to keep it running as usual you would have to consider issues like:

  • The extra costs and resources of having to monitor and shield servers still running the software.
  • Increased security risks.
  • The costs, hassle and stress of needing independent audits.
  • The improvements and increased efficiency forgone by not using more current, tried tested and effective software.
  • Failures of the old hardware running your Windows 2003.
  • The cost savings of needing less hardware because of the improved software making better use of hardware.

The Benefits of Office 365

As well as thinking about the negative points of  Windows Server 2003 that you will be migrating away from, it is worth considering the many benefits of the platform you’re migrating to.  In the case of Office 365 these include:

  • Easy access - it is cloud based so you can simply use your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone’s internet connection, no VPN required.
  • Simplicity - its simplicity can bring greater productivity.
  • Feels familiar - it retains many of the familiar aspects and favourite applications of your old system so you don’t have to learn a completely new way to navigate it and get things done quickly.
  • Collaborative working - this is possible with Office 365 via your Web browser.
  • Reliability and security.
  • Control - improved control for administrators.
  • Staying up to date - all your mobile devices can sync with updates automatically.