Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 Bastille Day has come and gone, but this is no reason for companies to be complacent - they still need to act
For too many of us in the ICT industry, Microsoft’s ‘Bastille Day 2015’ started to feel like a mini version of Y2K. It was talked about years in advance and there was a lot of doom and gloom associated with it.
Bastille Day was the name adopted by Microsoft for when Windows Server 2003 was reaching end of life, signifying Microsoft’s intention to stop providing support, security patches, bug fixes and access to technical support.
A bit like Y2K, there was a lot of hype around the necessity to take action and move to a new operating environment.
However it is likely, that several weeks on, companies that didn’t take action haven’t noticed any immediate impact and are still operating in business as usual mode.
But are they? My concern is that despite a concerted communications campaign from Microsoft and numerous marketing campaigns by IT vendors, companies are underestimating the risks involved in operating on an unsupported system and may not have fully investigated the compliance and regulatory impacts.
The Dangers of Complacency
In a recent article in The Australian, Arun Ulagaratchagan, general manager, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Asia Pacific expanded on the Windows Server 2003 becoming End of Life.
The number and potential severity of the implications reinforces that businesses cannot be complacent and despite 14 July 2015 having been and gone, it is still vital to act.
A major issue is that any new vulnerabilities in Windows Server 2003 will not be addressed by Microsoft. To put this in perspective, Ulagaratchagan states that “Microsoft released more than 30 critical updates for Windows Server 2003 in 2013 alone.”
In many ways it is easy to understand why businesses have resisted or been slow to move off Windows Server 2003. Transitioning can be difficult, expensive and time consuming.
However despite the cost and effort of transitioning, the cost and risk of not transitioning are greater.
Microsoft estimate that the typical transition time to move from Windows 2003 to a new operating environment is 3 – 12 months, leaving companies vulnerable to increased software attacks during this time.
For companies who haven’t moved, this means it is likely they will be operating in an unsupported environment, vulnerable to the subsequent security, governance, brand and reputation risks.
‘Safe Harbour’ Options available
Optus has a number of options available for anyone looking to transition from Microsoft Windows Server 2003. As a certified member of Microsoft’s Cloud Operation Network System (COSN), Optus can provide ongoing support, security updates and service patches.
Learn more about options available when transitioning from Microsoft Windows Server 2003.