For those that didn’t know, Microsoft is ending support for the Windows Server 2003 operating system on July 14, 2015. After this day, Windows Server 2003 will no longer receive security patches that help protect from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software; assisted technical support from Microsoft; and software updates. Businesses who are still running Windows Server 2003 are now forced to upgrade to a newer operating system as a result, or stay vulnerable.
“All software products have a lifecycle. End of support refers to the date when Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance. As of July 2014, there were 12 million physical servers worldwide still running Windows Server 2003,” claims Mike Lomonaco, director of marketing and communications for Grand Rapids-based Open Systems Technologies. “It is a 13-year-old system with two more recent updates (2008 and 2012), so the cost of continued support from Microsoft is cost-prohibitive.”
Just because Windows Server 2003 has reached end of support doesn’t mean the operating system will cease functioning. It simply means those who are using the old operating system, especially businesses with critical data, will now increase the risk of catching a virus or face other serious security threats. This could include loss of confidentiality, integrity, availability of data, system resources, business assets, and more. Definitely not worth the risk.
“Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based services. There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows Server 2003 to a currently supported operating system or SaaS (software as a service)/IaaS (infrastructure as a service) products and services.”
Microsoft plans to release Windows 10, the company’s latest operating system, on July 29th. According to Microsoft, there are approximately 23.8 million instances of Windows Server 2003 currently running across 11.9 million physical servers worldwide.Further reading: Microsoft, Windows Server, Windows Server 2003