Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Windows Server 2003 End of Life is now!

By Sarah Morgan

Microsoft’s Windows Server 2003 support ended today. If you haven’t made preparations, we’re going to give you some critical advice on how react to the security risks and impending costs now facing your business.

What does Windows Server 2003 End of Service mean?

End of service essentially means that Microsoft will not be releasing anymore updates or fixes. This means existing or new security vulnerabilities will not be fixed. Should you wish to stick with Windows Server 2003 you should consider the following:
  • You'll now need maintain the security of  your server independently. This is likely to cost £1000s. A TechNet post from Alex Fu estimates up to a hefty £120,000 a year cost for custom support.
  • Windows Server 2003 no longer complies with PCI Security Standards. VISA and Mastercard require PCI compliance. This means any websites currently running on Windows Server 2003 will no longer be able to process MasterCard and VISA payment services from today 
  • Future software and tech releases are unlikely to be backwards compatible, leaving your server with little options for progress.

Image courtesy of jchandler

Where to Migrate?

To avoid security issues and PCI non-compliance, it is best to migrate as soon as possible to a different platform. There are multiple pathways available to you:

  • Windows Server 2012 is the standard upgrade from the 2003 version (and of course the 2008). With the ability to switch between server core and server GUI and a redesigned server manager interface, it makes it far easier to manage multiple servers. Further, detailed information can be found here 
  • Microsoft’s cloud technology offering is Azure. Its benefits include increased flexibility and protection, with the ability to be able to buy virtual servers on a large scale at the click of a button. There are also reduced setup costs because operations are up and running immediately after purchase. 
  • It is perfectly viable to have a combination of the two technologies, having some servers located locally, whilst also investing in Azure and cloud technology. 

Get the Skills you need for Windows Server 2012 or Azure

For those looking for guidance on migrating away from Windows Server 2003, Microsoft now offers a “migration planning assistant service” that can guide you through the whole process.

Once you’ve made your new platform choice, there are a series of Microsoft certification courses to bring you up to speed on the latest technology. The two most popular options:

MCSA: Windows Server 2012

For those migrating to Windows Server 2012, this course will teach you the skills required to make the most of the platform. You'll learn vital skills like:
  • Deploying and managing Windows Server 2012
  • Configuring advanced Windows Server 2012 network and file services
  • Implementing a range of relevant software including IPv6 and Hyper-V

Microsoft Specialist: Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

This course is for those who have gone down the Microsoft Azure route. Once you've migrated your on-premise service loads to the cloud, learn key skills like:
  • Planning and creating Azure virtual machines
  • Implement, monitor, backup and monitor storage solutions
  • Deploy and configure websites, as well as publishing content

What are you waiting for? Cyber criminals across the globe could already be targeting your unsupported system.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.