On 14th July 2015, Microsoft withdraws support and updates for customers who currently use Windows Server 2003. Following our last year’s call to action, customers who haven’t taken the leap yet are advised to execute a migration strategy to protect their IT infrastructure.

After 14th July, businesses who continue to employ Windows Server 2003 will not receive any Microsoft security updates, patches or hot fixes and consequently be prone to potential security risks. As a result, users may find that their IT systems including business-critical applications could be compromised, enabling data theft and unauthorised transactions.

Furthermore, organisations in regulated industries or handling regulated data such as healthcare sector, may not be able to meet regulatory and compliance requirements and subsequently face fines or be cut off from key trading partners that seek to protect their own compliance.

Added to this, with no support from Microsoft, vendors of products running on Windows Server 2003 are also likely to withdraw their support services, leaving them vulnerable to defects, which with lack of support may be permanent. Depending on the scope of the malfunction, businesses may not be able to address the issue and become further exposed to the risk of malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Computers running the Windows Server 2003 operating system will continue to work after support ends. However the risk of security threats should prompt businesses to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or other cloud-based systems. By migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, IaaS (infrastructure as a service) or SaaS (software as a service), businesses can not only avoid the risk of system failure but also improve performance, reduce maintenance requirements and increase agility and speed of response to the customers.

Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a lengthy list of improvements compared with Windows Server 2003, including integrated virtualisation, better security and extensive scalability. With Software as a Service deployment model, businesses can benefit from quick and easy deployment and anytime and anywhere access to business data via a web browser at affordable prices. Businesses which want to opt for a IaaS where the equipment used to support business operations, including storage, hardware and servers, is outsourced to a third party, will see advantages in robust security and on-demand capacity giving them option to scale up or down the hosting as the business changes.

The risks associated with continuing to use Windows Server 2003 after the termination of support by Microsoft should be a motivating factor for businesses to consider the move. Windows Server 2003 upgrade options are very flexible and offer businesses favourable and tailored payment and deployment options, therefore taking advantage of this migration should be an opportunity to modernise the IT infrastructure and prepare for the future.

With no time left before Windows Server 2003 reaches end-of-life, customers who are still running their business on this server should look at upgrading to a more modern operating system.

For more information on the effects of Windows Server 2003 end-of-life and available upgrade options, please email enquiries@xperience-group.com

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