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In 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP and this year they will end support for Windows Server 2003. Microsoft plans to end their support on July 14, 2015 . This means that fixes, updates, and technical support will no longer provided by Microsoft.

Many business may not be aware that they are running Windows Server 2003, and that it will soon be unsupported. They may also fail to realize that running a retired operating system will be costly and will put their business at risk. According to industry experts, an estimated 12 million servers still run Windows Server 2003. If you own one of those 12 million servers, you should immediately start planning your upgrade to avoid the following issues.

Compliance. Businesses that must comply with regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, SOX or Dodd-Frank will need to upgrade. If a business chooses not to comply they may face implications such as a loss of customers or high monetary penalties.

Security. The weekly security and update patches will no longer be applied to Windows Server 2003. In February, Microsoft announced that they will not be releasing a patch to fix the major hacker vulnerability flaw found in Windows Server 2003. After Windows Server 2003 is retired critical issues will go unpatched which will leave you open to hacking attacks. Running a server with insecure, unsupported software can expose your data and the rest of your network to hackers, malware, and viruses.

Maintenance Costs. Running an outdated operating system on a server is expensive. Manual tasks like log checks must be increased, and will generally take longer. To protect a vulnerable server, advanced firewalls, an intrusion detection system and network segmentation should all be put in place. David Mayer with Microsoft indicates businesses could spend an extra $1,500 on each server annually.

Hardware/Software Compatibility. Windows Server 2003 support will not be integrated into new software and hardware. Companies still using an outdated server operating system will face compatibility issues with new software and hardware such as printers and backup devices. Software that will run on the older system often takes longer to install and maintain than on a newer system.

As a part of our managed services, Sierra Computer Group develops a roadmap for your business so that you can plan for necessary upgrades like this. Sierra Computer Group will take care of the planning and coordination required to successfully migrate to a new server operating system. Call us today to find out how we can help you upgrade from Windows Server 2003.