On 14th July, Windows Server 2003 reached end-of-life, leaving businesses which continue to use the server exposed to a high number of vulnerabilities and compliance violations. Customers, who missed the deadline, are advised to review their current IT strategy and upgrade to a more modern operating system.

Effective from 14th July, Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 and it will no longer deliver critical security updates or patches for the system. With estimated 60 per cent of businesses still running the outdated system it is important to understand the possible consequences of employing the platform, especially as the Windows Server 2003 end-of-life is considered to be the “biggest security threat of 2015”.

The implications that businesses running Windows Server 2003 must be aware of include increased operational costs, security risks and non-compliance. Without support, businesses can experience a rise in operational expenses to maintain the server, as well as become vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks on their computer systems, databases and applications. If the business is subject to independent audits, outdated software can lead to failure in passing the compliance audit.

Computers using the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However, as both the risks and the costs of extended customer support are likely to rise rapidly, businesses should consider upgrading to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based systems.

The benefits of migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2 offer a lengthy list of improvements, including integrated virtualisation, better security and extensive scalability. Other choices available include Software as a Service (SaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) where businesses can lease business software or computing power from the cloud, through a third party provider, and benefit from quick and easy deployment and anytime and anywhere access to business data at affordable prices.

Even if your business does not experience any issues at present, the future of your organisation can be compromised at any point. Windows Server 2003 will increasingly become a target for hackers and therefore pose a greater security and compliance risk. With the variety of flexible and tailored upgrade options, businesses should review their migration routes to prevent security threats and software defects that may jeopardise the future.

For more information on the effects of Windows Server 2003 end-of-life on your business and available upgrade options, please contact us.

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