Microsoft NZ is reminding its customers that time is nearly up for organisations still running Windows Server 2003, with just three weeks till the end of support deadline on 14 July.
Companies still using Windows Server 2003 after the end of support deadline will be particularly vulnerable to threats as no new security patches will be made available, says Frazer Scott, marketing and operations director, Microsoft NZ.
“It can typically take around 200 days to make a standard server migration, so with 21 days left before the deadline, this is especially critical given the fast-paced evolution of security threats,” says Scott in a statement
“While upgrading servers takes time and money, holding out on the migration from Windows Server 2003 may cost much more in the long run.”
“If they have not already, IT leaders and business owners need to move quickly to protect the applications and information residing on old servers," says Scott. "The July deadline represents an opportunity to future-proof your business and realise the benefits of moving to modern platforms like Windows Server 2012 that is also built to allow a simple move to the cloud.”
For businesses that will not be able to migrate their old servers ahead of the deadline, Scott recommends the following steps:
• "Reach out to your Windows Server 2003 hardware and software vendors for advice. The operating system is just one part of the total solution, so you may find that the hardware and software installed on it may also be unsupported after the end-of-support deadline. Knowing this in advance will mean your vendors will then be able to provide additional options for mitigating risk."
• " Ensure that you are running the very latest release of Windows Server 2003 (R2) and that you install the final security patch that comes through prior to July 14."
• "Minimise the risk of a security breach by keeping your Windows Server 2003 server ‘off the grid’ on a closed network – not connected to the internet – until migration is complete."
• "Ensure your network firewall and anti-malware definitions are regularly patched and updated."
As a last resort for businesses that are not able to upgrade in time, Microsoft is offering Custom Support Agreements for receiving ongoing patch and update support for aging WS2003 servers.
While these steps will not provide businesses with a permanent safe haven, they can buy some time, says Scott.
Send news tips and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap
Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.