Old systems, new options…
When visiting businesses around Scotland it’s common for us to encounter out-of-date software. For many companies, the systems seem like they’ve always been there and they are often unaware that some of their key tools are no longer supported. The next step in the process is what to replace them with. For the first time in a long time, there are a few different directions businesses can choose…
Looking to Replace XP, Office 2003 or Server 2003?
As Windows Server 2003 draws nearer to its end-of-life support on July 14th, 2015, there are still around a million servers running live applications. Many of the administrators are aware of upcoming termination of support, however, are still to migrate or switch to a new service. Such a scenario is clearly something for businesses to be concerned about as they are completely reliant on an operating system released around 10 years ago. A solution should be found as soon as possible. Regardless if your server is running stable at the moment, it’s far too big a risk to your data to continue running without any support. While the server still has around a year worth of support available, XP and Office 2003’s have already ended.
Creeping out of date?
When you walked into the office on April 9th after Windows XP expired, you probably didn’t notice that there was much difference, however as time passes there will be security and application difficulties to be addressed. If administrators are still running XP they will increasingly have a challenge on their hands to be sure that their businesses can carry on and remain secure. There are a few issues and options for those who are in this situation to consider and hopefully after we review them here you will have a better idea of which is the best for you and your business.
As your server will be unsupported it will become increasingly vulnerable over time which can lead to control failures and suspension of certificates. This can then be brought to public attention which would alert your customers of your inability to maintain servers and keep their information secure. No business would want that impression given to their customers.
A reduction in ‘Independent Software Vendor’ support is something for businesses to take very seriously. With the continuous decrease in the amount of XP users, there will be fewer and fewer current versions of applications available for them. This will reduce access to innovative new features and also hardware as many PC manufacturers will no longer build with XP compatibility.
I use Server 2003, what are my options? Surely Microsoft aren’t leaving their dedicated customers high and dry?
Of course they aren’t – but they are encouraging their customers to spend again to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Essentials – their new cloud-based solution.
Microsoft’s goal is to have their customers upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Although this is the product they have scheduled as a replacement it could be quite a change for existing customers. The basic package offers support for only 25 users and up to 50 devices. If you require more than that then you’re going to have to fork out and invest in the Windows Server 2012 Standard edition. One of the biggest alterations (or reductions) that most will notice is that Exchange isn’t included as a feature of Essentials. If you require the use of Exchange, you will need to subscribe to Office 365, use a cloud-based service or purchase and maintain your own Exchange server.
The assumed reasoning behind this is that Microsoft feels that they need to make a bigger push towards moving their customers to the cloud to keep up with competition and for the continuous flow of revenue that goes along with it. Microsoft’s efforts to push customers towards the cloud is an interesting move as many customers may be upset by the fact Exchange is no longer included and feel like extra purchases are unfair. Because having the full range of services might require both a server and cloud-based Office 365 customers can be stuck in a kind of server limbo for the foreseeable future.
What else is there?
Being stuck in such a situation leads a lot of businesses to consider their options more broadly. There are other services out there that can offer an all-in-one solution, such as a Linux-based server with their own version of Exchange or the fully cloud-based G Suite (Google Apps for Business) which offers mail, calendars, document storage and more with no need for a server, which means no installation or maintenance costs. It’s very healthy for SMEs that there is now a range of options to be considered – so much so that what started out as a daunting problem can even end up giving a business the opportunity to make a change for the better.
If you’d like to learn more about how cobry’s services could benefit your business, please get in touch