Firms at increased risk from cyber attack with the disbanding of one of Microsoft’s most popular Windows computer systems
5 February 2015 – Next Generation Data (NGD) is warning that businesses will be at increased risk from cyber attack if they continue to run one of the world’s most popular computer operating systems after 14 July this year. At that time Microsoft will cease supporting its Windows 2003 and Small Business Server software which means there will be no further critical software security updates made available.
“Based on past experiences those who don’t take action now will be highly exposed and targeted by cyber criminals - it’s not a case of if you get targeted, it is a case of when,” said Steve Davis, NGD’s Channel Sales Director. “If your organisation operates under regulations concerning security and privacy of data then you could also risk penalties for non-compliance.”
With the deadline only a few months away Microsoft believes there are around 10 million Windows 2003 servers in use worldwide still requiring migration to a newer operating system version. In the UK The Cloud Industry Forum estimates that a 1000 servers per day will have to be updated if companies are to be transitioned from Windows 2003 before the deadline in July.
Businesses will need to undergo a technology refresh which also involves a duplicate IT environment being put in place to enable thorough testing of the new system while the existing one continues to operate. As part of this upgrade process NGD also advises firms to carefully consider the physical location of their new IT systems and whether this is fully secure and has adequate power and cooling facilities.
Said Steve Davis, “As your data and IT becomes increasingly critical to your firm’s very existence not to mention competitive edge, these kind of considerations are well worth reviewing. You may well decide the office premises are no longer suitable for hosting today’s sophisticated servers. Locating and storing your critical IT and data systems in our modern secure data centre can often be more cost-effective than taking up space in your own offices and will ensure they are correctly managed and protected. A dedicated purpose built colocation data centre such as NGD will minimise the risk of unplanned downtime and disruption from potential power outages, flood or fire, as well as from things altogether more sinister such as cyber or even physical attack.”
Steps to moving on from Microsoft Windows Server 2003:
IT Audit: This is necessary to understand what systems are running on the operating system. The sooner this begins the more prepared your in-house or external IT personnel will be to transfer any specific custom software applications that are still key to your business operations. It may be decided some applications are no longer necessary or can be better replaced with modern off-the-shelf packages
Go Colo: Taking space for housing some or all of your new computer systems and associated data storage at a reputable colocation data centre will ensure your IT is kept highly secure and reliable, and there will always be support personnel on hand 24/7 as necessary
Consider the Cloud: The cloud option may well not have been viable ten or more years ago but nowadays you can seriously consider using (renting) applications on a pay as you go basis from a cloud services provider – but make sure you know where and whose data centres they are using to run your applications and store your valuable data or it could be out of the frying pan into the fire!
Specialist help:Managing this change can be daunting so calling on a third party, such as a colocation data centre operator or a systems integrator for help could well smooth the migration path, especially with the short deadlines concerned
The 14 July software support cut off imposed by Microsoft is real and will not be extended
Further information: Next Generation Data Tel: 01633 674 518 www.ngd.co.uk