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May 15, 2015

July 14 EOL Deadline Looms for Windows Server 2003

If your network is still running on the 13-year-old Windows Server 2003 operating system (OS), here’s a wake-up call: You have until July 14 to migrate to a new platform or face the impending end of life (EOL) consequences that Microsoft has planned—specifically, a cessation of support for the 2003 OS.

That is, on July 14, 2015, Windows will officially discontinue support for Windows Server 2003.

What does this mean for your business? Microsoft makes it very clear on its website that networks still running on Windows Server 2003 at this time will be unable to patch security vulnerabilities, thus making them susceptible to a multitude of online threats—ranging from hackers to malware.

“After July 14, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates for any version of Windows Sever 2003,” the latest message reads. “If you are still running Windows Server 2003 in your data center, you need to take steps now to plan and execute a migration strategy to protect your infrastructure. By migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365, you can achieve concrete benefits, including improved performance, reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business.”

What’s more, while your servers will still be able to function, you will no longer be able to meet the stringent requirements needed to pass a Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) security audit. In order to be PCI-DSS-compliant, you need to be using software that is up to date and equipped with the latest security provisions. Without this upgrade, you will not be able to safely process credit cards and could, therefore, be held responsible for lost funds in the event of a data breach.

Note that the July 14 deadline is a moving target—subject to change at any time by Microsoft—especially due to the fact that many customers are complaining. After all, about one-fifth of servers still run on Windows Server 2003.

But the change could come earlier as well. As explained in a recent InfoWorld article, Microsoft could actually end support at any time, without warning or customer assistance.

 Aren’t you tired of having to deal with endless security patches and system updates? The process is never-ending, yet critical for maintaining a healthy and secure network. A much easier—and cost-effective—solution is to invest in a managed services provider like Apex Technology Services of Norwalk, Connecticut. In doing so, you will be guaranteed the latest software and network infrastructure, so you can steer clear of trouble when audit time comes around.

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