Why a proactive approach to end-of-life deadlines is critical

End-of-life for Windows Server 2012 edges ever closer, with support for the service set to end on 10th October 2023

While that date may appear far enough in the distance for organisations to put the issue to one side for now, this is compounded by the fact that companies still using it will have to pay Microsoft for extended support from January 2022. Numerous vulnerabilities and risks await those who persist with using the system post-2023. For organisations in the technology sector, remaining at the forefront of innovation is key when it comes to products and services offered to customers, so addressing end-of-life is particularly prevalent when it comes to client safety, security and brand perception, as well as in the context of internal operations.

The technology landscape in 2021

As the custodians of accelerating digital transformation across industries, technology businesses are under particular pressure to ensure that operating systems are up-to-date and able to facilitate innovative processes in fields such as IoT, fintech, marketing platforms and AI. In fact, findings by IDC revealed that by 2025 there will be 55.7bn connected devices, 75% of which will be connected to an IoT platform. The technology sector is seeing new players continuously entering the market.

With increased market competition however comes the risk of priorities being shifted away from updating the background systems and focussing purely on developing new products and services to stand out in the sector. In addition, with the Covid-19 pandemic meaning that customers depend more on technologies to remain productive from remote locations, the reliability on services has never been more important, meaning focus has been further shifted from updating back-end systems over the course of the last 12 months. The risks of doing so however can prove detrimental to technology organisations, both internally and for the customers they work with.

Implications beyond internal systems

It’s more crucial than ever to ensure that proactivity is taken when dealing with end-of-life deadlines, ensuring that a new or upgraded system is in place to enable integrity of customer data and allowing compliance requirements to be met. Persisting with an end-of-life system that is no longer receiving security patches can lead organisations to fall foul of regulations such as the GDPR, leading to increased likelihood of data being compromised via a cyber-attack and the potential for large fines to be imposed by regulatory bodies.

For technology vendors such as those providing data architecture or cloud services to store client data, the risks of non-compliance and cyber security can also extend to their customer base, who will heavily rely on the external expertise of their technology partner to ensure data integrity. For organisations providing integral platforms to customers, such as those in the fintech sector, the poor performance that can result from running systems on an end-of-life server can lead to potentially damaging and costly downtime. Not only does this mean a hit on efficiency, but can also lead to the brand reputation of the technology organisation being left in tatters.

Knowing which avenue to take

For technology organisations that are constantly battling to keep pace with the rate of change and looking to innovate their services to meet customer demand, it can be difficult to know where to begin when looking to proactively maintain their severs and back-end systems. Half the battle in addressing end-of-life deadlines for servers such as Windows 2012 is having visibility of where potential non-compliance and other risks could materialise. The intuitive tools of an external provider can however provide that clarity, highlighting incompatible or at-risk applications, while systems can be matched to current regulatory requirements to enable technology leaders to know where improvements need to be made.

It’s important to remember that in approaching end-of-life deadlines, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and every organisation will be different. For many however, migrating applications to a new server such as Windows Server 2016 or 2019 can prove to be the most cost-effective and seamless approach. Container technology can gather together all the application files, runtimes, components and deployment tools needed to run applications on a new server, and deployed in hybrid or pure cloud platforms. Not only does this provide technology organisations with agility and efficiency, but enables their in-house professionals to focus on innovating services within the business.

Whether it’s upgrading, updating or replacing their Windows Server 2012 systems in advance of the 2023 deadline, relying on external expertise can give technology organisations the opportunity to access a tailored roadmap, defining the best strategy to ensure that they avoid the risks that come with persisting with an outdated system. With the technology sector powering its services and products through innovation, utilising the same approach when dealing with end-of-life deadlines can help ensure that the crucial underlying systems are running safely and securely in the background.

About the Author

Mat Clothier is CEO and Founder at Cloudhouse, he leads the company ensuring that enterprises can give all their applications a future without having to needlessly re-engineer when moving existing Windows based applications to the Cloud or Windows 10.

Featured image: ©ChristianChan