Windows Server 2003 – End of Support

Sara Johns Blog, Support and Maintenance

Are you still running your Servers on Windows 2003? If so – listen up.

Microsoft is ending Support and Security updates as of July 14th!

Risks of running Windows Server 2003 past July 14th :

  • Elevated danger for cybersecurity attacks on computer systems and databases.
  • Non-compliance with PCI security standards for businesses that accept credit cards.
  • Breaches of HIPAA data policies for businesses that handle client healthcare data.

The risk is not limited to the OS itself. With so much infrastructure built on Windows Server, databases, middleware, applications and other sensitive information can all be compromised by a single unpatched vulnerability. Windows Server 2003 doesn’t have the compartmentalization of the later versions, so once an intruder gains access to the OS, they will have free reign to move around the system unrestricted.

Benefits of migrating to Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Azure or Office 365 :

  • Save money – Extended support for Windows 2003 is priced at $600 per server for the first year.
  • Improved performance
  • Increased agility
  • Reduced maintenance requirements

Microsoft is not just ending Windows Server 2003 support, it is also ending support for System Center Endpoint Protection or Forefront Endpoint Protection on Windows Server 2003. Microsoft intends to stop sending updates to anti-malware definitions and the engine for Windows Server 2003. Microsoft said ” We have found in our research that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited. Given the fast pace of technology, it has become increasingly important that customers use modern software and hardware that is designed to help protect PCs and servers against today’s threat landscape. For this reason, there is no guarantee that every OS that reaches end-of-life will be provided a grace period.”

“One of the top barriers to migration is the fact there is no immediate need, because if it’s not broken don’t fix it. There is some complacency there and people aren’t paying attention to the risk. Some assume that they are behind a firewall and think since no one can get into their network they have a false sense of security,” said Peter Tsai, content marketing manager with Spiceworks.

Microsoft won’t completely ignore WS2003; it will still offer extended support for a hefty fee, much more than your current service contracts. Extended support is priced at $600 per server for the first year and increasing after that. With dozens or hundreds of servers in a company, that can run up into the six figures, at which point it would be cheaper to buy new servers with Server 2012 R2 on it. For that reason, Microsoft is actively encouraging migration and offering tools to help with the task.

Still not sure it’s worth the money to migrate? Contact us and we’ll review your current setup and give you an honest evaluation.