Do you remember back in early 2014 all the tech buzz about the coming end of support for Windows XP? It was a time when many businesses and individuals were being encouraged to replace any old XP machines with Windows 7 or 8 computers. This would ensure that their systems would remain up to date and protected against internet evil-doers! Well it’s not as well known, but July 14, 2015 marked the end of extended support for Windows Server 2003. So what does it mean for a product to go end of life, and what do you need to know in order to make an informed decision? We’ll start with an overview of Windows updates:
What are Windows updates?
Windows updates are software updates or enhancements that offer a number of benefits, from bug fixes to help your computer run more smoothly; driver updates to help your hardware perform; they provide access to new Microsoft products; and among other things, they help to enhance the security of your computer. So in short, they are little updates to your existing operating system to help it run better and more securely.
So why does it matter if I don’t get Windows updates anymore?
Ultimately, it’s important to understand that the internet can be a scary place. Good guys and bad guys familiar with network security regularly scan the internet to see what they can find. Some of these people are looking out of curiosity and for research purposes, while others are looking for any kind of security vulnerabilities they can get their hands on. Out-of-date systems make excellent targets because the longer a system exists without updates, the more time there is to develop good hacks. It can also provide the malicious users longevity of access. With no Windows updates coming out to fix what they’re exploiting, Windows doesn’t have a way to protect you against that vulnerability anymore and never will.
Does this mean I’m not protected anymore? How serious is this?
How serious this is varies from company to company. With good network security practices you may have a firewall, antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems, or other securities in place that help to protect you. The combination of these things are what make up your network security architecture and are what keep you and your information safe. That said, the end of life of Server 2003 can create an important gap and needs be evaluated. With other good security measures in place you should have time to evaluate what needs to be done, plan any required migrations, and have peace of mind knowing that your information is safe.
To find out more information; to have your systems evaluated; or for any other questions, we’re here to help you out. Contact us today!