Perhaps you've heard that Windows 2003 support is ending. What you may not realize is that you need to migrate off Windows 2003 before the deadline. Perhaps you have an application that only runs on Windows 2003, perhaps you subscribe to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto, either way you need to act any now to prevent a big problem later.

With the list of Windows 2003 Vulnerabilities increasing, the requirement to have a secure environment (needed for certain legal and regulatory requirements), the end of support makes it a no-brainer that you must upgrade.

How can I upgrade?

Before you get started, know that upgrading your version of Windows can be a daunting and dangerous task.  You take the risk of losing your data, having programs break, and chances are you'll run into some problem along the way.  After all, Windows 2003 is over a decade old!

Upgrade Tips

  • Backup everything you can, upgrades don't always go according to plan!
  • Follow the official Upgrade Path to Windows Server 2008, making sure to use a supported path
  • Ideally you should upgrade to Windows 2012, so after upgrading to 2008 follow the Upgrade Path to Windows Server 2012

Why not replace?

Sometimes, deciding to upgrade isn't the best option, and instead you should replace the entire system.  This might be because it will take too much time to upgrade everything in-place, or the AD structure is a bit wonky and you don't want to continue with it.

Of course, this option can be expensive, you'll need to purchase new hardware and possibly train your users on how to use the new system, not to mention the pain on cutover day.

Can I do nothing?

Of course you can!  But this leaves you without any support of any kind, you should only choose this option you really have to and if the system(s) in question are completely off your network and are not exposed to anything outside.  But even then you may think something isn't accessible to other systems when in fact it really is.  Take the recent Target and Neiman Marcus POS hacks, so easy to do that a book was written about it!  They didn't think their systems were online, they were just point of sale systems with no internet access and yet they still were compromised.

What to do?

If you need help securing your network or upgrading your old systems, give us a call or use the contact form on the right!  We can help you decide which of the 3 options is best for you.