The Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 operating systems are going out of support on October 10, 2023, and cyber-criminals are rubbing their hands in anticipation. Why? Because they know there will be a lot of networks that will continue to run the unsupported software and that will make them easy targets to exploit as new security vulnerabilities are discovered.
Running unsupported software is a big risk because the developer no longer creates security patches to mitigate new vulnerabilities as they’re discovered. Cyber-criminals will continue to discover new holes where they can sneak into a computer via unpatched software. Once there, they can either unload malware such as ransomware; move about collecting intelligence for a bigger payoff; or sell access to the network to cyber-criminal peers who will take the next steps to monetize the intrusion.
Evaluate Your Options and Take Action
For some companies, the need to make a change presents an opportune time to move their servers to the cloud. For others, staying onsite is going to remain the best option because that’s what works best with the large files and high computing power they need. Either way, it’s not advisable to continue to run Server 2012 or 2012 R2 as you are today but you have options.
Migrate Servers to the Cloud and Upgrade to Windows Server 2022
If you’ve been waiting for the right time to take your servers and network infrastructure to the cloud, this could be it. When you utilize cloud computing, you’re actually leasing instead of owning the resources you use. This makes the cloud cost effective because you can scale up and down as your needs change.
You’re still responsible for your software including the operating system, but you decrease the amount of hardware you need to maintain. What’s really great about going to the cloud is that you immediately step up your ability to recover from a disaster. What’s more, being in Microsoft’s Azure environment opens up new opportunities for you to make other technology improvements like utilizing desktop virtualization.
Migrate Servers to the Cloud with Server 2012 and Get a Security Extension
If there are reasons why you can’t make the switch to 2012 just yet, you can still move to the Microsoft cloud. Extended security updates can be purchased for three years by organizations moving to Microsoft’s Azure environment but need to stay with Server 2012. This could be a good option for situations if you have critical business applications that aren’t compatible with newer server versions. Going this route can buy you some time to figure out a permanent solution.
Stay On-Premises and Upgrade to Windows Server 2022
If your situation isn’t suitable for the cloud, you can upgrade your servers to modern server software. Modern software runs best on modern hardware so you may need to upgrade your onsite servers at the same time. Data backup is important for every organization but when you have your servers at your physical location it’s especially vital that your data is being backed up to a different location and that you have a process for spinning up operations remotely.
Stay On-Premises and Purchase Extended Security Updates
Doing nothing is not a choice when it comes to preventing a cyber intrusion when Server 2012 goes out of support. If you can’t act before the October 10, 2023 deadline then purchase a security extension. This is not a permanent solution but again, a way to buy some time until you can figure out your long term plan. It’s also possible that even if you decide to make a change and go to the cloud, you may not be able to get the project completed before the deadline.
Server 2012 End-of-Life is an Opportunity in Disguise
It would be great if technology never went out of date but that’s not reality. The truth is that technology is evolving at a breakneck pace and organizations that don’t stay current inevitably suffer as productivity declines and risks increase. At the same time, executives want to make sure that they aren’t overspending on IT and they’re investing in the right ways.
Going to the cloud or upgrading your servers doesn’t have to merely be an expense. Making the change can actually be an opportunity to position your organization for the future and to do that you’ll need the guidance of a vCIO.
Here at Bellwether, we provide clients with vCIO services so they can plan and budget for the future. We give executives the information they need to make confident decisions about technology investments and how they can use technology to fuel their success.
If you don’t have a solution in place for the day that Server 2012 goes end-of-life, we should talk.
Get in touch to schedule a consultation.