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A little over a decade after the release of Windows Server 2003, Microsoft announced that it will not extend support for the server operating system after July 2015. The company will no longer release security updates, and any new vulnerability discovered will no longer be fixed. If your business still runs on Server 2003, you need to upgrade if you want to be protected from future threats. Even the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team released an alert to remind companies that still haven’t made the move to migrate—and to do so immediately.

What Does This Mean for Your Company?

By postponing migration, you are essentially exposing your company to elevated cyber security risks and dangers. This can result in huge problems not only in terms of electronic data loss and malicious attacks, but also with software and hardware compatibility. Security, server management, and performance issues on the platform will only continue to escalate, costing you time and money.

Without support and backing from the official vendor, your server will cost more to operate and maintain, which will lead to mounting running expenses. These additional costs can stem from money spent on required tools, more advanced firewalls, intrusion detection systems, network segmentation, and more. Buying new Server licenses for more advanced platforms is guaranteed cheaper than trying to make Windows 2003 work.

End of support also means the seizing of bug fixes. This can result in new vulnerabilities in your security, which can be hard to address without vendor backing. The legal requirement to maintain independent audit performed on a regular basis for an outdated system should also be considered because audits can be pricey—and are definitely more costly than new licenses.

Handling the Phase Out: What You Can Do

Upgrading to Windows 2008/2012 the soonest possible will not only protect you from security and productivity issues, but also keep you on the cutting edge of server management—and therefore one step ahead of your competition. That said, migrating to newer servers can take a while and requires technical training and expertise.

It makes sense to hire a third-party consultant that can help your company transition from Server 2003 to Server 2008/2012. This can make the upgrade and migration process more efficient, thereby saving you both time and money. A consultant can design a complete migration plan for your company’s unique needs and requirements.