Get Ready! Windows 2003 Server End-of-Life is July 14, 2015.

Earlier this year, Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP. Probably the most popular operating system ever created by Microsoft, Windows XP was released in August 2001 and sold nearly one billion copies. So it’s had an amazing run.

That’s one of the reasons that many users are so reluctant to let it go. It’s like a pair of beat-up old slippers. Comfortable, maybe, but not necessarily the most functional.

Not surprisingly, shortly after Microsoft discontinued support, many nasty viruses, exploits and hacks began to show up, specifically targeting XP computers. What is surprising is that many users are still using XP, even with full knowledge of the security risks.

That brings us to Windows Server 2003, which was released in April, 2003. At the time, it was a huge step forward from Windows 2000. It offered far greater stability and performance, a much better end-user interface, and numerous new and improved features.

It’s no wonder that it very quickly eclipsed Windows 2000. But that was over 11 years ago, and a LOT has changed since then, including the release of both Windows Server 2008 and, more recently, Windows Server 2012.

Those operating systems have continued to bring dramatically improved functionality,reliability and performance. In light of that, Microsoft will be discontinuing support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This means that Windows 2003 will be just as vulnerable as Windows XP is now.

With over 6 months of “breathing space,” now is the time to get ahead of the game. Servers are where we all store our most business-critical information: employee records, customer lists, accounts receivable and our other irreplaceable data. All of this lives on your server! But once Microsoft discontinues support for Server 2003, there will be no more security updates or patches.

The next time a hacker finds a hole in Windows 2003 security (and they will because that’s what hackers do), you run the risk of putting all your confidential data into the hands of someone who will use it for their own benefit or sell it to the highest bidder.

As devastating as that risk may be, avoiding it is actually very simple: Upgrade your server to Windows 2008 or 2012 before the deadline. If your current hardware is fairly new, you may not even have to purchase a new server - just buy the software. But even if you have an older server, the price of hardware has dropped dramatically, and in most cases, the investment is a very modest one.

And here’s another incentive: Windows 2003 is not nearly as reliable as later releases. Windows 2003 servers must be rebooted regularly or they can develop severe instability. The Windows 2003 print spooler is subject to regular failures and crashes. And Windows 2003 networking performance can be totally unpredictable.

All of those issue were resolved in Windows 2008, and Windows 2012 adds another level of stability and performance. Even if Microsoft was not discontinuing support for Server 2003, those reasons alone should be enough to get you thinking seriously about retiring your old server.

DON’T put your business in danger by depending on out-of-date, unsecure software. With 6 months to go, you have ample time to put a careful migration plan into place. Connectability is ready, willing, and able to help.

To learn more, give us a call at (416) 966-3306 or email us at [email protected]. We promise to be your guide!