As you may have seen recently in the mainstream media, some key Microsoft products will very soon be out of support. These products are:

  • SQL Server 2008* – extended support ends 9th July 2019
  • Windows Server 2008* – extended support ends 14th January  2020
  • Windows 7 – extended support ends 14th January  2020
  • Exchange Server 2010* – extended support ends 14th January 2020
  • Office 2010 – extended support ends 13th October 2020

*businesses running Small Business Server 2011 will be impacted by these

You may have already started the conversation about how your business is to mitigate the potential risks posed by these impending changes, you may already have a plan in place currently being implemented and you may not be aware that Microsoft are doing this; hopefully this blog post will prove of use wherever you are on the journey.

What does end of support mean?

Whilst there is no obvious impact on the performance of any installed products which Microsoft no longer support, it does mean that Microsoft will no longer work on or push out security updates for these products putting you and your business at risk of a number of known and as-yet-unknown security issues.

There have been several high profile instances, most notably the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 where in the United Kingdom the NHS was significantly hit as some systems within the organisation were running Windows XP, a product which had itself been out of support at the time of the attack.

Unsupported products represent a security risk to your business. If you have not already, now is the time to think about upgrading where necessary to mitigate this risk.

What are my upgrade options?

There are upgrade paths available for all of these products. Depending on your licensing model upgrading to the next, or in some instances most current versions of these products would be the best fit e.g. Windows 10 / Server 2012 or 2016. Alternatively you may have started having conversation around the utilisation of cloud services, this may be an ideal opportunity to explore that further particularly in the case of SQL Server; are the applications you are running on SQL available as a cloud subscription? If so, it might be time to engage with application provider to see what your options are.

Office and Exchange have on premise licenses which can be upgraded to. Microsoft also offer Office 365 licensing which is subscription based model with various plans to suit your specific needs. Exchange is incorporated within this and Exchange Online is an email-only cloud subscription service worth consideration should you be contemplating your next forward step.

With respect to desktop and server platforms you may have begun discussions regarding Azure, Microsoft’s own cloud computing service. With more businesses than ever before beginning to utilise the agile nature of the cloud subscription model now might be the perfect time to consider the benefits such a deployment can bring to you.

In each instance Skanco are able to assist to help you make the choice which is right for your business.

How can I prepare so that these changes have as little impact as possible?

As with any upgrade to live systems there is potential scope for users’ functionality to be disrupted, this is where Skanco come in. With nearly 35 years of providing IT solutions and services to the Isle of Man business community we are ideally placed to help you navigate this upgrade path.

If you have any questions regarding these changes within the Microsoft product suite please contact your Account Manager or HelpDesk@skanco.co.uk and we will arrange to meet with you and discuss the options available to you. We are here to make the process as smooth as possible so why not tap in to the expertise available from us when approaching this project?

 

 

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