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Let’s get some of the definitions out the way first:
- Small Business Server – an integrated server suite that allowed for network management, Exchange and SQL databases to be ran from a single server
- SQL – the database system that stores data used by applications or programs that your business runs on a day to day basis
- Exchange – Microsoft’s email and calendar system
The next 12 months are looming as critical for many businesses that are running I.T. hardware on operating systems that are approaching Microsoft’s end of extended support dates.
Over the past 10 or so years, many small and medium businesses have relied on Microsoft Small Business Servers as a convenient, single server option to meet their key IT needs. (file storage, email, application database operation and network management)
Progressively, Microsoft have moved away from the Small Business Server ‘all-in-one’ server. Small Business Servers are no longer available, and the Exchange server must now run on standalone server or virtual machine. This has also opened options for businesses to move some or all their technology to cloud or hosted servers.
What deadlines has Microsoft set?
- Microsoft SQL 2008, 2008 R2 – July 2019
- Small Business Server 2008 – January 2020
- Small Business Server 2011 – January 2020
- Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 – January 2020
- Exchange Server 2010 – January 2020
- Windows 7 – January 2020
Of further note, Microsoft Office 2010 will also be reaching end of extended support in October 2020.
How does this impact your business?
- Microsoft will no longer provide support or updates for these products. This leaves your systems open to security risks through cyber-attacks that exploit the flaws or holes in your server or computer’s security. Any flaws identified will no longer be fixed. This could potentially lead to data loss and theft. Unsecured servers will become easy targets as they are designed to be left on, unattended and connected to the internet for 24 hours a day.
- Does your business rely on passing independent audits to remain in operation? If so, outdated or unsupported software may cause failure of compliance audits by industry or corporate regulators. Potential loss of business or regulatory fines could cost more than an upgrade of I.T. systems.
- Ageing servers and computers start to run slower over time. This is most prevalent in Small Business Servers that are performing multiple, resource hungry tasks on a single server. Reduced performance ultimately impacts the productivity of staff i.e. it will take longer to complete tasks when working within these systems.
- For third-party applications to run smoothly eg: CRM or Sales software etc, they need to be compatible with the rest of your systems. Older systems may not talk to newly installed software so any potential productivity benefits gained by implementing new software can be lost if it doesn’t integrate with an old / out of date operating system or application.
- By not upgrading versions of Microsoft Office, businesses are not able to take advantage of greater user functionality and integration released in newer versions. This can help you and your staff work smarter and more efficiently.
- Older versions of software have limitations as technology evolves. For example, (the unsupported) Outlook 2003 had a 2GB limit of mail storage. With faster internet speeds and larger files being sent, user would now run out of mailbox space quite quickly. Meaning users can no longer send or receive emails. (and do their job!)
If you are running servers or computers using an operating system coming to the end of support deadline, call 1800 248 266 and #AskCitcom how we can help your business upgrade your I.T. systems.