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Windows Server 2008 End-Of-Life Support Begins Looming as Business Scramble to Act

It seems like we just went through this with Windows Server 2003, but we’ll soon be losing yet another Microsoft flagship product. Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010, reached it’s “end-of-mainstream support” on January 13th, 2015 but the final blow will come January 14th, 2020. The exact same date for the end-of-support for Windows 7 Operating Systems. Microsoft will officially end its support for Windows Server 2008 and the 2008 R2 editions. It’s a sad beginning but read on and I will point you towards a few transformative paths for on-site, or cloud use.

Although 2020 seems like its lightyears away, update in an IT Infrastructure is a large task, one that will be here before you know it. So, if you’re still running Hyper-V on a Windows Server R2 platform, or worse your still running Windows Server 2003, then you need to start strategizing now, to ensure your company is protected and infrastructure is secure while moving forward.

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Extended Support Dates in Effect

Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 variants are already on their extended support phase now. As of July 8th, 2019, will be the final date for SQL Server 2008, while January 14th, 2020 will come shortly after. Once these dates hit, you will be running machines at your own risk in this saturated age of cyber-attacks. The good news is the fate of these dinosaur systems isn’t as bad as it would appear. It’s true this date cannot be moved, changed or deflected, but Microsoft has opened several more, cost-effective paths for businesses to begin their infrastructure evolution.

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Little-to-No Support Leaves Your Operating System Vulnerable

You can continue to use Windows Server 2008 R2 safely in your environments, at least until the expiration date. By doing so, you stand the risk of missing out of several new features being introduced to the Hyper-V family on any Server 2012 operating systems. These features alone warrant an upgrade to your infrastructure prior to the end-of-life support dates.

Remember that once a product reaches its end-of-life, no new features, fixes, or updates will occur. While Microsoft continues to provide what little help for customers with Server 2008 through extending support agreements, they too will no longer be able to receive any form of support from Microsoft come January 14, 2020. Leaving many business systems open and exposed to outside infiltration. All three Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 (Datacenter, Enterprise, and Standard) will be affected, also including the Hyper-V role.

Post-Upgrade Solutions for Managing Your Old Servers 

  • Path #1:  Seen by many as the traditional evolutionary path, upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server, and SQL Server. This is where you get the most updated features in today’s security landscape. The latest version of Windows Server 2019, and SQL Server 2017.With the only caveat being to host on-premises versions or move to the cloud.
  • Path #2:  Not interested in upgrading to the latest server versions for some reason? We’ve got you covered, with a few options for those who wish to continue using Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. To save you money, you could move these workloads into the Azure cloud, using Azure’s Hybrid Use Benefits. The only cost incurred is the computing instance and infrastructure. With the use of Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances for Windows Server, you can save further on computing costs.
  • Path #3:  The last path is the most grim for many, it’s the choice to not evolve at all. This leaves many servers including file, or database to receive the updating needed to stop cyber-attackers. For business’ that have already purchased “Software Assurance or Enterprise Subscription,” will receive security updates for a prolonged period of time. We should note, Microsoft has discontinued its assurance agreements, but with more than 90% of affected business’ operating under a “Standard License,” this path doesn’t work for the vast majority of businesses. Once again leaving many without a clear-cut choice.

This is still YOUR Choice

We hope all the information from Clare Computer Solutions, will assist in making sense of the dynamic landscape in technology. If your business wants a second opinion or just a helping hand, any of our team members would be happy to assist you with making your transition as smooth as possible. Reach out today to begin discussing your options in greater detail today.

 

File Sharing: 4 Reasons You Don’t Use Consumer Grade

As the digital transformation begins to gain traction in the market for business technology. File sharing continues to lead many to a more efficient work path. Starting with file sharing through iCloud, and Google cloud. Followed by the Dropbox adoption, and now into Slack’s interface, using drag and drop mechanics, with little permissions around sharing or asset management.

File sharing services are very common these days, and it’s easy to see why. These online services provide an easy way to store files in the cloud, where you can readily access, and share them, from a variety of devices. Many of these services are free of charge, too – up to a point.

For personal files, these solutions do a great job, since they are free! If you’re only sharing personal files – vacation pictures or non-sensitive personal communications – security is NOT a paramount concern. But beware of using consumer-grade solutions for your business.

These personal file sharing services are a prime target for hackers, and you owe it to your business, and all your business contacts to protect data you’re storing and sharing.

For businesses that want to use the convenience of file sharing apps, it is wise to make sure the solution you choose has business-level capabilities such as:

  1. Encrypted data – keeping data safe, during editing, in-transit, and at rest.
  2. Controls – not every user’s needs are the same, and not every user’s privileges should be the same.
  3. Customization – it should appear to the people with whom you’re sharing information that the program you’re using is a part of your company – not a “freebie.”
  4. No Such Thing as Free – at some point, your organization will reach a scale where these solutions can no longer be viable.
    1. (Dropbox & G-Suite are capped capacity, unlike similar O365 variants)

Clare Computer Solutions can help your company get set up for a business-grade file sharing solution, tailored to fit your business needs – Contact us today to get started.

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