Wednesday, 22 July 2015

How Safe is Your Business Critical Server?

So Windows Server 2003 End of Support has come and gone, and perhaps you’re wondering why you haven’t heard a media storm around a company that’s been hit hard due to not upgrading.
I think we all knew that lack of an upgrade plan wouldn’t cause huge disruptions straight away, but that’s not to say that those who have hung onto Windows Server 2003 are in the clear. In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. The last round of patches from Microsoft didn’t include Windows Server 2003 – so the situation for anyone holding on to this platform is much darker than they perhaps realise.

Server migration isn’t done in a week. In fact, it can take five months to fully complete a server and workload migration project, and even that’s optimistic depending on the size of your business. Organisations that haven’t yet started the upgrade process aren’t running late; they’re far past that point. The longer that businesses go without upgrading, the greater the security risk. On top of that, they’re taking the chance that Visa and MasterCard won’t do business with them due to Windows Server 2003 no longer being PCI compliant, which is bad news for anyone accepting card payments online.

Obviously, we’re talking bad-case scenarios here, but operating with an out of date infrastructure means that organisations are under threat. Every day on Windows Server 2003 is another day that issues can strike.

It’s not unusual for cyber attacks to target unsupported software, and really it makes perfect sense. If a global organisation is running outdated software, virus authors will naturally target it for a chance of fame. The grim reality is that by refusing to upgrade, an organisation is putting more than some data at risk; they’re actively threatening their own future. History is littered with organisations who have lost customer data – and as a result lost their customers too. It’s harsh reading, but it’s definitely worth thinking about.

To move onto happier things, End of Support has done a lot of good for businesses when customers have upgraded. The necessity of having to do something has allowed businesses to have a complete rethink of how they deal with their data, leading to some interesting choices. The most interesting is perhaps the rise of businesses using Cloud solutions. Gone are the times when migration meant a choice of which physical servers to keep in your basement. With the rise of Microsoft Azure and Office 365, organisations have been willing to not only try the cloud, but also consider both options as a valid choice when migrating from Windows Server 2003.

The main messaging to take from Windows Server 2003 EOS is that it’s never truly too late to upgrade. Mark Buckley, Senior Partner Sales Executive for Distribution at Microsoft, had this to say on the subject: ‘Support has now ended for Windows Server 2003, but it’s not too late to migrate. If your server goes down, how long is it until your business starts to lose money? Don’t wait for something to go wrong, and don’t learn the hard way.’

One thing is clear:  if businesses haven’t upgraded yet, it’s not too late. But the longer it’s left, the greater the risk is.

Watch our Windows Server 2003 EOS Video 

If you want to find out more about migration opportunities, contact your account manager or email: 

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