Many growing organizations faced with outdated systems and software are looking for new capabilities to compete in an expanding market. While business owners are aware their systems need to be regularly updated or replaced, it often is not one of their main priorities. However, there is a monumental change approaching that should have business owners prioritizing their IT strategy.
On January 14th, 2020 Microsoft will be ending support on their massively successful and widely used Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Whether you are operating a small or large business chances are good you have 2008 servers in your environment, potentially running one of your most important applications. All three Windows Server 2008 R2 editions (Datacenter, Enterprise and Standard) will be effected.
Once a product reaches its end-of-life, no new features or fixes are released for it. This will leave any Windows 2008 servers in your environment vulnerable to infiltration due to Microsoft no longer releasing security patches. Perhaps more importantly, your internal or external IT staff will no longer be able to utilize Microsoft’s support team for any issues relating to your server. The solution may not be as simple as upgrading to versions of Windows Server that will continue to be supported, such as Server 2012 and 2016. Business owners need to be auditing the line-of-business-software running on currently used 2008 servers to identify whether you might be pairing server replacements with costly software upgrades to ensure compatibility on new versions of the server operating system.
One strategy is to invest in new hardware and software, and another is to consider cloud solutions to deliver services like email, accounting and business management.
Whether you are considering new internal systems and software upgrades or exploring cloud offerings, be aware of the best practices and timelines required to plan, design and install a technology upgrade, new implementation or cloud strategy. While the year 2020 seems distant, you may find yourself, as well as your business, in a tough spot if your internal IT team isn’t already planning and budgeting for the replacement of your servers. In the same vein, it should be expected that external IT support companies will be inundated with projects to replace customer’s 2008 servers. As a result, you may find yourself waiting months for your IT provider to facilitate a project to replace your end-of-life systems. Without early planning you can expect delayed projects and a surprise blow to your bottom line.
Begin the process of consulting your trusted IT advisor about this looming change now. Gathering information around how many instances of Server 2008 you are currently utilizing, as well as the services and applications hosted on these servers will give you a head start on strategizing how best to upgrade.