Businesses could compromise the security of their critical data unless they migrate from Windows Server 2003 to an alternative platform before it's too late, warns IT managed services provider, Advanced 365 (Advanced).
Windows 2003 is nearing end-of-life and Microsoft will officially withdraw support for the server operating system in July 2015. Approximately *400,000 UK organisations from a total of 1.6 million worldwide still rely on aging Windows 2003 applications to host their business systems and could be left exposed.
Firms which continue to use Windows 2003 may face operational disruption, significantly increased support costs and be unable to comply with new data regulations. Anticipated changes to existing EU legislation could see organisations fined up to £780,000, or five per cent of their annual turnover, if they are found guilty of data security breaches after the introduction of the law in 2016.
Andy Brown, Managing Director of Advanced 365 (SME Division), comments, "Many organisations have yet to formulate migration plans and are unaware of the implications of using Windows 2003 after support has been withdrawn. Failure to upgrade their server infrastructure now will place their IT systems and business critical data at greater risk from hackers, viruses and malware attacks, potentially bringing major consequences."
From 14th July 2015, Microsoft will no longer be issuing security patches or updates for applications hosted on Windows 2003 and other service providers are expected to follow suit. As a result businesses will be unable to access the most up to date applications, which are vital to ensuring the smooth running of their day-to-day operations.
Brown says, "Now is a good opportunity to evaluate existing IT platforms and take advantage of cost savings. Virtualising physical infrastructure or migrating solutions to the cloud offer flexible and scalable ways to improve operational efficiencies and reduce data security risks to ensure business continuity.
"There are numerous options available but it is essential that organisations ensure their business and IT strategies are aligned. Partnering with an experienced managed service provider can help them choose secure, resilient and high-performance solutions that are tailored to their needs to support future growth."
Advanced provides a comprehensive range of IT managed services, from desktop support through to a complete infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in which it takes full ownership of customers' servers and networks.
Advanced 365 is an Advanced Computer Software Group company. The Group recently won Tech Company of the Year in the prestigious UK Tech Awards 2014 and ranked in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, which recognises the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the UK.
*The Register: why 1.6 million people will miss Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 date with date: