The time is coming for Microsoft to end support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. If you’ve already moved on, then great! If you’re still running this (now decade old) operating system on your server, then it’s past time to put together a plan for replacing it. Today, we’ll take a look at what End of Support means for businesses who are still running old operating systems.
End of Support Means End to Updates
When you hear the words “end of life,” or “end of support,” what they point to is the fact that Microsoft will quit maintaining the operating system. Having a nice, secure piece of software doesn’t mean building it up like a fortress and then just assuming that it will stand up to new enemies and threats. Instead, building a secure operating system means constantly addressing new threats with updates and patches.
Not supporting the operating system means that Microsoft will be leaving it to die, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as “end of life.” If you rely on unsupported software for your day-to-day business, you’re asking for trouble from all types of bad actors, not to mention annoying bugs. Without the ability to safeguard against known vulnerabilities, your data is a sitting duck.
While Microsoft hasn’t updated any of the features of Server 2012 in a while, they’ve still been working on security patches and bugfixes. That means that even though the software was getting old, it was still reasonably secure to run it. For instance, Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday updates in November 2022 produced 16 fixes for critical vulnerabilities. If we fast forward to November 2023, that same level of security problem will just simply not be addressed—at least not for free.
Time to Upgrade
Microsoft offers a way to keep security updates coming to Windows Server 2012 (called Extended Security Updates), but it’s costly, and should only be thought of as an emergency solution that buys your company three more years of security updates—after those three years, there’s a hard end-of-support date.
There are a few paths that Microsoft recommends for upgrading machines that are running WIndows Server 2012. You’ll need a solution that is tailored for your specific use case, and one that gets you the best value and prepares you for what lies ahead for your company.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Microsoft suggests upgrading from Server 2012 to Windows Server 2019, at least from Server 2012 R2. Of course, if you absolutely need the specific software on your server and it’s not compatible with newer versions, they’d like you to move your server to Azure (their cloud computing platform). That might not be possible if you have compliance requirements that include keeping your data on site.
Other solutions might bring your company more value by migrating to a new server, be it on-premises or in the cloud. If you are running old software on old hardware, you might be surprised at what kinds of advancements can be made in security, reliability, availability, and efficiency with a new solution. The migration process will need to be customized specifically for your situation, so now is the best time to reach out to Crown Computers and explore the options.
-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team