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Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 will soon be unsupported by Microsoft and could pose serious risks for organizations using it after the official end-of-life date in October 2023.

Potential Risks and Important Considerations

Once Microsoft ends support for operating systems, security patches or updates, bug fixes, or technical support are no longer offered.  What does this mean for your organization?

  • Increased cybersecurity vulnerability:  Operating on unsupported operating systems makes your organization vulnerable to security breaches and cyber-attacks. It would make your resources, your data, and your team a soft target for cybercriminals and at increased risk for downtime and other financial ramifications.
  • Non-compliance status: If your organization is part of a regulated industry like healthcare or finance, there are potential legal and regulatory consequences of continuing to use Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2.  Technically, your organization would be non-compliant with industry regulations which may lead to penalties, fines, or legal liabilities.
  • Application issues: Server-dependent applications will not receive important updates, making them more difficult to use in addition to not being secure.
  • Cyber insurance coverage complications: End of Life hardware description is typically on insurance provider questionnaires. Using an unsupported operating system could hurt your ability to secure cyber insurance coverage, or worse, make filing a claim more difficult. 

Remediation Options

Budget constraints and concerns about migration efforts are important factors to consider when evaluating the best course of action. However, weigh these factors against the costs of resolving a security breach or product failure. 

GadellNet is recommending three possible options to bring your organization up to date. Deciding which option is best for your organization is very nuanced.  Work with your GadellNet Account Manager or Consultant to discuss the pros/cons of each.

  • Move to the cloud:  Ideal for organizations primarily working with files and which do not have server-based applications.  It is also a strong option if you have a hybrid workforce.
  • Buy new server hardware.  If your organization works with large files, many files, or utilizes server-dependent applications, remaining on-prem could reduce file storage costs.
  • Stand up a new virtual server by using existing server hardware.  Potentially the most cost-effective solution but it will require an evaluation of current hardware. 

While a move to the cloud can typically cost about the same as a new server, long-term costs (CapEx vs. OpEx) can be reduced.

Act Immediately to Avoid Risk

Taking action right away can help mitigate the risks associated with Server 2012 end of life.  Creating and executing a migration strategy to upgrade to a supported operating system, such as Windows Server 2019 or the cloud-based Windows Server Azure is a large undertaking and can take several months.  Be mindful of these considerations.

  • Completing a current IT infrastructure assessment is critical: This includes identifying dependencies on Windows Server 2012 and planning for any necessary upgrades or replacements of hardware, software, and applications.
  • Establishing a secure environment for migration: Reviewing security measures and implementing additional layers of protection, such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits is essential.
  • Accounting for new equipment procurement:  Though not as severe as in 2021-22, there is still potential for supply chain delays for required hardware, especially as more organizations work to migrate prior to the October deadline. 

Taking proactive measures is essential to ensuring the security and stability of your organization’s IT environment.  Ignoring the impending end of support for these operating systems could have severe consequences in terms of security, compliance, and legal liabilities.  Contact your Account Manager or Consultant for more information.

If you’re looking for an IT partner to help your organization with a smooth transition, contact us today.

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