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Five threats associated with the withdrawal of support for Windows Server 2003

Insight UK, a technology provider of hardware, software and service solutions, has identified five key threats faced by organizations rushing to meet the Windows Server 2003 end of support date.

After July 14th 2015 Microsoft will no longer support its Windows 2003 fortress with upgrades and will cease helping users sustain its defence. The day on which support is officially withdrawn also happens to be Bastille Day, the anniversary of the beginning of the French revolution, when a new social order was imposed in France.

Indeed, Bastille Day is likely to see the beginning of the end for the old order in many enterprise and public sector IT environments, as organizations either migrate successfully to the cloud or new hardware, become embroiled in problems, or stay and attempt to deal with the potential invasion of malware. With the deadline looming, there is a feeling that many organizations have left things too late and will now miss July’s deadline.

Around 24 million servers in organizations, from small enterprises to global corporations, could be affected by the withdrawal of support from Microsoft. According to the vendor’s estimates, around 39 percent of all installed Microsoft Server operating systems are Windows 2003, requiring constant fine-tuning and patching. In 2014, some 20 critical updates were required. However, with new physical servers (Windows Server 2012) and cloud-based replacements (Azure) available, Microsoft has called time on the old guard.

Yet although Microsoft has offered support in the shape of its Azure Data Centre Migration system (which helps large users move from physical servers to the cloud) many end users have left the migration too late and now face a series of problems.

As such, Insight has identified five key threats that end users can expect in the coming four months:

Short-term administrations: one of the common failures identified is a creation of short-term fixes in response to a lack of time to prepare. Some server upgrade projects could take an estimated 18-months, but just over four remain. As a consequence, compromises may be made on planning and assessment, and upgrade migrations could be based on false assumptions. Without proper due diligence the extent of the server environment and criticality of applications are likely to be under estimated, resulting in instability and disruption.

Compromised coalitions: these are caused by the impact of unexpected consequences leading to short-term patches, which in turn lead to internal power struggles for financial resources. The failure to understand the impact of Windows Server changes – on both users and the organization – will create unforeseen circumstances. Resources will need to be allocated for migration for which no provisions have been made and this may cause friction between departments and staff.

Regime change and artificial barriers: the inconsistencies and lack of co-existence between old and new servers will create conflict. Interoperability between users, directories and security settings will create flashpoints over the network and resources.

Weak new administrations: a lack of data protection means that migration to a new system may lead to loss of data assets. In moving from one territory to another the IT regime could come under attack and suffer heavy setbacks, sometimes fatally. Lack of time to prepare means many businesses will fail to back up comprehensively before they begin their journey.

Ungovernable new environments: these are caused by an inability to settle in the new administration. Whenever a new regime is established, there are new foundations to establish, new ground rules to create and new connections to be made. Sadly, many organizations will fail to optimise their new environment having rushed their preparations. Neglect to prepare a migration and you should prepare to deal with failing administration.

http://www.uk.insight.com/windows-server-2003-retirement

•Date: 6th March 2015 • UK//World •Type: Article • Topic: ICT continuity

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