January 2020 will see a complete end to Windows 2008 Server Support, so now is a perfect time to revaluate your infrastructure needs. As they say, every Cloud has a silver lining – in this case, the silver lining could be the Cloud.
What does End of Life mean?
End of Life means that Microsoft will no longer provide updates for the 2008 Server. The server will still function, but it won’t receive important security updates, meaning you’ll be vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This can have a hugely detrimental effect to your business just as the NHS discovered in 2017. The WannaCry virus attack affected a third of all NHS trusts – disrupting 7000 appointments – resulting in patients being turned away. It was later discovered that the cyberattack could’ve been prevented by a few basic security measures including keeping software updated and replacing outdated systems.
What does this mean for my business?
This situation really only means one thing: you’ll need a new operating system by 14th January 2020 in order to keep your business secure.
You have two main options: update your operating system (Windows 2016 for example), or move your infrastructure to a virtual server.
If you choose to update your operating system, the downside is that your server will still have a limited lifetime – you’ll need to upgrade again in a number of years, and the endless replacement cycle starts over. You’ll be in the same situation further down the line.
Virtual servers don’t have this issue; they can essentially last forever. This is because they can be upgraded remotely as soon as updates are available, so your Virtual Server will always have the latest features, OS, and security patches. Another benefit is that you can scale your server up and down easily, meaning they can adapt to your business needs.
There is also good news! Due to changes which Microsoft brought into effect in November, for the first time ever, the costs of Virtual Servers are now comparable or cheaper than physical servers. This is due to Azure Reserved Instance (Azure RI) and Hybrid Benefit – which can save you up to 80% off the Azure pay as you go price!
Microsoft Extended Support Programme
Another option has recently been created – the Microsoft Extended Support Programme. This allows you to migrate your Windows 2008 server into the Azure Cloud and receive an additional 3 years of server updates for free. This means that your 2008 server will continue to work as normal, be protected as normal, but will be operating from a Virtual Server in Azure, rather than on a physical server in your office. This is especially important if you have a line of business application that is not compatible with Windows 2016 – it will give you time to find a new application that works for your business.
Migrated 2008 servers are also eligible for the Azure RI discounts (paying for a longer term upfront) and Hybrid Benefit (a discount for applying previously purchased licenses), making the costs comparable or in most cases cheaper than buying an on-premise server.
If you use your 2008 Server purely as a file server, there is a fourth option for you – Office 365. All of your files can be migrated to, and accessed via, SharePoint and OneDrive. Office 365 is Cloud based so has the same benefits as Virtual Servers including no replacement cycle, and scalability. For more information on Office 365 and the different plans available, click here.
Operating off your unpatched server will leave you open to attacks. By the 14th January 2020 you will need to do one of the following:
1 – Update your operating system (Windows 2016 for example).
2 – Move your infrastructure to a virtual server.
3 – Migrate your 2008 server to Azure.
4 – Deploy Office 365.
For advice on your options or to explore the potential cost savings or Azure RI and Hybrid Benefit, please fill in the form below or give us a call.