In July 2014, Microsoft discontinued support of its Windows Server 2003. Nevertheless, studies show that nearly 20 percent of organizations surveyed continue to use it. On that same day, Windows ended support for the replacement server for Windows Server 2003, which is Windows Server 203R2.
When Microsoft discontinues support for a product, no updates are available to fix problems with the software, which means the end of any security updates. In one exception, those Microsoft customers who have Custom Support Agreements (CSA) will still be supported.
Industry experts anticipate the CSA will be expensive, starting at about $600 per covered machine – increasing to $2,400 within three years.
Entities that need to be in compliance with HIPAA regulations and/or PCI requirements may have no choice but to migrate from their current server. This is not as easy as it sounds, though, as many entities, including physicians’ offices, use software made to run on Microsoft Server 2003.
Following are some of the problems inherent when using unsupported software.
Since Microsoft stopped all updates as of July 14, 2014, current users may now have infected systems. Even if they don’t, they are more likely not to be able to withstand a virus or malware attack. Firewalls and anti-virus and anti-malware software will not do the job – you need to find an alternative for your business.
New software is not optimized to run on MS Server 2003; they are optimized for running on the most current OSs. To run new software, you need a server other than MS Server 2003.
Privacy concerns are huge. The United States Department of Health and Human Services has levied fines on many healthcare providers and/or their partners for HIPAA violations. In addition, protecting credit card and other payment methods is a concern for all involved in e-commerce. With security protection at an end, the MS Server 2003 is unreliable for staying in compliance.
Expensive Costs of Operation
If your system succumbs to an attack, Microsoft may be the only resource to repair it. But the cost of a repair by Microsoft can be more than the cost of a replacement server. In addition, downtime will be more frequent and lengthier if your system has become an end-of-life (EOL) product.
Bad Performance and Lack of Reliability
Bad performance and lack of reliability haunt those companies who run old apps on old systems such MS Server 2003. It is a good likelihood that if your server is old, there are older and out-of-warranty workstations and other computer equipment still in use. When computer hardware reaches its EOL, it is prone to failing and to need repair, or it’s failing beyond repair. Downtime is money misspent.
How to Solve This Problem
If you could solve this problem and save money, would you? Managed IT services is a great solution. With managed IT services, you no longer have the cost of buying, upgrading or adding to servers and other hardware that usually must be amortized over a certain period of time. You no longer have to spend money on software that may also be subject to amortization.
Instead, these are expense items, deductible as a business expense for the tax period for which the expense was incurred. You also need fewer IT people in your IT department as most of the heavy lifting will be done by your managed service vendor.
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