You’ll have heard that Microsoft are drawing a halt to Extended Support for Windows 7 software on 14th January 2020.
This has been in the press quite a bit and we’ve blogged about it here too, because it’s the software which used to be on everyone’s everyday Windows computer.
However, there has been less coverage of the end of Extended Support for Microsoft Server 2008 software. Perhaps this is because server software is not an everyday concern for most business people; out of sight, out of mind, and all that.
To be more precise, Microsoft Extended Support for Windows 2008 Server Release 2 Service Pack 1 will not be available after 14th January 2020.
Older versions of Windows Server 2008, i.e. Server 2008 prior to Release 2 or Server 2008 Release 2 which has not had Service Pack 1 applied, came out of Extended Support some months or even years ago.
Experience tells us that the poor publicity is not because everyone has moved forward to Windows Server 2012 or 2016 or even 2019. We’ve done a couple of Server 2008 migration projects this year and we have two more booked in for early 2020.
What seems to have happened is that some IT service companies have not been giving enough attention to their clients. Regular IT Action Plan meetings should have revealed software with a limited life ahead and given lots of notice to prepare for the upgrade.
Another factor might have been uncertainty about whether moving email to the cloud is a good idea or not. If your organisation still has an on-premise Microsoft email server there’s a fair chance it’s powered by Microsoft Small Business Server 2011. Under the skin SBS 2011 includes the soon-to-be-obsolete Windows Server 2008 and also Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 which, you guessed it, comes out of Extended Support at the same time.
There is no doubt that moving your email and perhaps more to Microsoft Office 365 is a good idea for most UK SME organisations, and we’ll blog in more detail soon about why that is.
For now though, you might wonder why this loss of support you’ve never used is so important. Very simply, a network server of this age was not designed for today’s environment of many ever-changing security threats. Even in a world of perfect security and instant patching the basic architecture is no longer fit for purpose. The systems were designed more than ten years ago and need to be replaced.
As well as the practical threat of network intrusion, malware, and mechanical failure of older hardware, there is also a regulatory compliance question. It is a requirement of your Cyber Essentials accreditation that your IT systems only use software which is current and supported by the vendor. If you’re using any of the products mentioned above that stops in January 2020 so your accreditation will also cease. If you have cyber security insurance as part of your usual business insurance, you will probably also find that is ineffective too.
I hope you can see that it’s not worth the risk of running outdated server software. These ageing systems are already vulnerable and if they do go wrong the financial consequences are now going to be much greater.
Here at Excellimore, we’ve used some careful planning this year to maintain security and spread the upgrade costs for new clients who had been left adrift by their previous IT company. Perhaps we can help you too? We look forward to hearing your story; click through here and tell us.