Unfortunately, when it comes to IT, all products have a lifecycle. All hardware and software has a shelf life, and after several years products reach End of Life (EOL) meaning that they are no longer suitable for use. When your machine or server is reaching the end of its lifecycle, everything slows down then fails. Where software is concerned, End of Life happens when the manufacturers no longer issue security patches so the software becomes outdated and insecure.
Microsoft is ending support for Windows 2008 Server and Windows 7 OS on January 14th 2020. There’s no way of getting around the fact that at some point you will have to update them. Here’s what we’d recommend:
If you’re using Windows 2008 Server…
Windows 2008 Server can be used for many different purposes and what you’re using it for will, of course, depend on what you replace it with. A big consideration when upgrading Windows 2008 Server is whether to upgrade your physical server or follow our recommendation of moving your infrastructure to the Cloud.
Cloud Hosting provides you with an always on, scalable, and cost-effective infrastructure. It works the same as a traditional on-premise server, but rather than being in your office, your server is hosted in secure UK datacentres. For Public Cloud we recommend Microsoft Azure, and for Private Cloud we recommend Teledata.
Azure is Microsoft’s Cloud; customers have a Virtual Server subscription that’s paid on a monthly basis. You can build your own Virtual Server or download a certified pre-configured one from the Azure Marketplace. With total flexibility you can benefit from a level of customisation that on-premise servers simply can’t match. Azure can seem daunting, however we’re here to guide you through the scoping, set up and monthly costs step by step, whilst also advising you on the significant discounts available. For more information on Azure Virtual Servers, click here.
Teledata is a highly available Cloud Platform with the added benefit of native site replication straight out the box.
To achieve this kind of service on any other platform you’d have to double the costs of your server estate. With Teledata this is done for you, meaning that should one datacentre go down, the other will switch on immediately with no loss of experience for your business or your employees.
If you’re not ready to upgrade Windows Server 2008…
If you’re not ready, don’t panic. Microsoft are now offering an Extended Support Programme for organisations who wish to continue with their Windows 2008 Server.
The Extended Support Programme allows organisations to continue to use their Windows 2008 Server by migrating to Azure and by doing so they will receive 3-years of security updates for free, keeping the operating system secure and delaying the need to upgrade. From a user point of view your server will be exactly the same, but will be operating from the Cloud rather than on-premise.
With the Extended Support Programme, you’re effectively buying yourself time. You may have business critical systems which may not be compatible with the upgrade to Windows Server 2019 so you need to find another solution. This allows you an extra 3-years of secure time to prepare fully.
If you’re using Windows 7 OS on an old Machine...
Operating Systems generally come preinstalled on laptops and desktops, and the chances are if you’re using Windows 7, you’re using old machines that don’t have much life left. If this is the case, we’d recommend upgrading your laptops which will now come with Windows 10.
Surface as a Service is a futureproof and affordable option for many organisations. It includes the lease of Microsoft Surface laptops as well as Office 365 and support. Because it works as a lease contract, you will have a monthly payment and the option to upgrade your devices when the contract has finished.
If you’re using Windows 7 OS and already use Office 365...
As well as upgrading your OS, you’ll also benefit from a comprehensive set of security features that will enable security to be maintained across all your devices without being intrusive. It’s the complete package to tackle Windows 7 EOL, enable productivity, and maintain absolute security.
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Please note: As of April 21st 2020, Office 365 plans for SMBs have adopted the Microsoft 365 brand name. In practice, this means:
Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic;
Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard;
Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium; and,
Office 365 Business AND Office 365 ProPlus are now Microsoft 365 Apps (for Business, and for Enterprise, respectively).
There are no changes to the cost or features in the plans as yet.