You still have a Windows Server 2003. It has been months since Microsoft discontinued support. Business is uninterrupted. Everything seems to be running just fine. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Right?
Sure, but guess what. Windows Server 2003 is beyond “broke”, it is obsolete, and it cannot be fixed. As inconvenient and expensive as change may be, not addressing Windows Server 2003 "End of Life" in the near future may result in your worst business nightmare. If you are fortunate enough to escape a disaster, you will inevitably be faced with an expensive experience for your business. Here's why.
Security: When Microsoft ended all support for Microsoft Server 2003, all the ongoing "fixes" for bugs, performance issues, and other unwanted intrusions into your network stopped. You don't have to be a "techie" to know that new vulnerabilities continue to be discovered. Since Microsoft is no longer developing and providing solutions for Server 2003, your IT service provider's only option is to keep on top of the vulnerabilities and purchase "fixes" for issues as they arise. In any case, eventually your system will become a massive security risk. That leads us right into the issues of cost and compliance.
Cost: Because Windows Server 2003 is no longer supported by Microsoft, it and the workloads you run on it will result in mounting operational expenses. If you compare the capital investment for intrusion detection systems, advanced firewalls, and other tools to protect your system and the cost of new server licenses, you may be surprised to find which is more economical. That doesn't even begin to address the cost involved in downtime, parts, and labor to maintain hardware that is reaching the end of its lifespan.
Compliance: Many businesses are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA or various rules of professional conduct such as the ABA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. Non-compliance can impact your business in two different ways. Your business partners who are also governed by compliance requirements may no longer do business with you to preserve their own compliance status. Another major consequence to your business may come in the form of fines or other penalties imposed by government or professional regulations.
Compatibility: New software and hardware devices are constantly being developed. None of them will be built to work with Windows Server 2003. Sticking with your Windows Server 2003 server means you will likely run into compatibility issues, may not be able to run new instances of software, or be able to integrate your network with the latest devices.
There are two basic options to avoid all of the issues associated with hanging on to your Windows Server 2003. You can upgrade to a currently supported operating system or migrate your data and software to a cloud-based service. Before making a choice, we recommend that you talk with a reputable IT Provider to get an assessment of your current network. This is a critical step that must be taken before you and your IT Provider begin to develop a technology plan that is right for your business and your budget.
If you would like more information about Mode5, our IT Services, or to request a free assessment of how well your business's current IT solution meets the unique needs of your business, click here.