Windows Server 2003 End of Life FAQs With the Microsoft Windows 2003 End of Life deadline approaching, migrations are an important consideration – both in terms of security and operations – for businesses of all sizes. With many companies beginning their migration during the first quarter of 2015, it’s imperative that you start planning as soon as possible if you haven’t yet. To help you better prepare, we’ve answered a few of the most frequently asked questions. What are the real security risks to my business? There will be no more updates to fix bugs, performance issues and security vulnerabilities. To put this into perspective, 2013 saw the release of 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003/R2. Past the end of life date, these critical issues will remain unfixed leaving you open to cybersecurity dangers such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss. Can I choose to do nothing? This is always an option, although not recommended as you are likely to face unexpected vulnerabilities that could put your company and your data at risk. Can I risk being out of compliance? This depends on your specific situation. In many cases there is a legal requirement to have an independent audit performed at regular intervals. Those audits can be pricey, often clocking in at more than the cost of new licenses. In some cases you may be out of compliance with your line of business applications if you continue to run on Server 2003 after the End of Life date. If you are a business doing online commerce, the end of support for Windows Server 2003 means that you will not pass a compliance audit if you choose to not update your server operating system. Without PCI compliance, Visa and MasterCard may no longer do business with your organization. What operating systems are options for my business? This also is determined on an individual basis. It’s time to take inventory of everything currently running on Server 2003 to see if each is compatible with the newer operating systems (Server 2008, Server 2012). What resources are required and how long will it take? The first step is easy and relatively painless. DWD will take a snapshot of everything you have running on Server 2003 and determine the appropriate newer version of Windows Server for your organization. The next step requires some decision-making on your part as we work with you to determine the best migration strategy. And there are a few: keep existing hardware and upgrade Operating System only, upgrade hardware and Operating System and move all applications and data, or virtualize to a cloud server and move all applications and data. While there are many decisions to be made around the retirement of Windows Server 2003, the good news is this is a great opportunity to assess and transform your business! If you would like to schedule a time to review your Windows 2003 Server usage and what this change means for your business, contact me at 260.423.2414. By DWD Technology Group, a Microsoft Certified Partner serving clients throughout Northeast Indiana.