Windows Server 2003 is due to reach the end of its life in July 2015, meaning that Microsoft will no longer support the software with further patches or security updates. This end of life includes all versions of Windows Server 2003 and all the sub-editions of the product: the Itanium x64 editions, the Compute Cluster Edition, the Datacenter Edition, the Web Edition and the Enterprise Edition.
This doesn’t mean that all servers running Server 2003 are going to stop working after the end of life date, but any future attacks aimed at vulnerable components of those platforms won’t be patched. Microsoft stopped developing service packs for Windows Server 2003 back in 2010, but the operating system has continued to receive security updates and paid per-incident support. All of that ends next year.
Why we urge you to move away from Server 2003
Well for a start, none of us know what’s around the corner in terms of security flaws and exploits, so not moving away from an operating system that no longer receives updates can make it easy for people wishing to harm businesses to wreak havoc on the legacy operating system; especially when it’s a server operating system that is most likely performing incredibly important tasks.
Secondly, Things have changed. New features have come into play with the more up to date operating systems. We won’t bore you with all of those but to give you a terrible analogy: why use a noble Nokia 3210 to text and ring people and play snake when you can face-time friends across the world with an iPhone and fling around the latest angry birds?
Issues with migrating away from 2003
It can seem as though moving away from Server 2003 and onto a later version with more up to date hardware has little in the way of added benefit; especially if the current server you have is working perfectly, works with all the peripherals you have and supports all the applications you have been using for years. Moving away from it can cause disruption to the business, little in the way of backwards compatibility and you also have the minefield that comes with swapping from a 32-bit server operating system, up to a 64-bit one (which can cause some headaches with certain applications that still may be business critical), but hopefully your IT team will be on hand to assist you with this.
What does this mean for ESP Projects clients?
Well those of you that aren’t using Windows Server 2003 or any of it’s variants need not worry, however those of you that are (and you can find out for yourself if you have a support contract with us, by emailing through to technical support) will really need to look at planning for a new server with an up to date server operating system.
In doing so you will avoid any problems and attacks that could happen if you were still running Server 2003 past the supported life date and you will, of course, get a server with more power, more security and more features than the one that you previously had.
If you would like anymore IT Support information or advice on the Windows 2003 Server contact the team.