Maybe you haven’t heard. Maybe you haven’t read our blog 6 Things You Need To Know About Windows Server 2003 End of Life. Maybe you’ve already found another job so you won’t be around when support for Windows Server 2003 ends on July 14, 2015.
Maybe you don’t believe something bad will come from operating an unsupported server. Maybe you do realize how dangerous it will be, but it hasn’t been a priority because of a million other things to do.
Maybe you just don’t care. But if you’ve read this far, I’d bet that you do care. So let’s see if we can help you get started.
How Bad Could It Be?
Once the date has passed, you’ll be in greater danger of getting hacked. Years ago when hackers were often individuals out for mischief or worse, getting the latest virus meant losing data or time and money cleaning or rebuilding your server. Today hackers are more likely part of well-funded, organized crime syndicates, and getting hacked leads to serious losses from bank, credit or investment accounts. Identity theft can lead to ruined credit ratings for a reputable company, and worse – your business could be pushed to shut down like several title and escrow firms, a favorite target of cyber thieves in recent years.
The reason for the increased danger after July 14 is the same as for any unsupported software or operating system. When hackers find vulnerabilities they move quickly to capitalize on them. Companies like Microsoft then hurry to patch their software, and security vendors like Symantec, McAfee and GFI rush to release updates to their security products.
On July 14, Microsoft will no longer react to such exploits on Server 2003, and the endpoint security companies will stop updating their products for it. Any 2003 server still online at that time will be a giant bulls eye for the bad guys.
How Much Will This Cost, Either Way?
Server refresh project costs vary considerably depending upon a number of factors. How many 2003 servers do you have? Can they be consolidated? Can some – or all – server functions be moved to the cloud? Call us, or your IT service provider for an assessment and pricing.
What we can tell you now is this: the longer you wait, the more it will cost. A $10,000 server project done now with plenty of time to plan and prepare, could cost an extra $5,000 if it becomes a rush project in early July, requiring special orders, rush shipments, and after-hours labor to meet deadlines.
But if you wait until your server dies, then you’ll be in disaster recovery mode, which can double or triple the costs. Or worse.
There’s No Way We Can Do This Before July 14 – Is There Anything We Can Do To Protect Ourselves?
The main reason some continue to operate 2003 servers are legacy applications. There’s an old version of some software that’s important to the operation, and it just won’t work on a newer server operating system. If that’s the case with you, you probably won’t like this answer.
The only sure way to protect your 2003 server after July 14 is to disconnect it from the Internet, and from any network with devices that are connected to the Internet.
However, there are layers of isolation that can provide some protection. Talk to an IT consultant with security expertise to get specific recommendations.
And Microsoft will offer paid support for Server 2003 after July 14, but it will be exceedingly expensive. I can’t imagine any small business being able to afford it.
Please Take Action Now
Your IT service provider wants to help you, and can do more to keep your costs down if you contact them now instead of waiting until the last minute.
If you have any unanswered questions, we’d love to hear from you. Fill out our Contact Us form, or give us a call at 512-472-6000.
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