Does Your Operating System Qualify For a Classic Car Tag?

Sep 30, 2021 | Blog

In the past year and a half, support has been discontinued for two popular operating systems. Microsoft ended support of Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015 and ended support of Windows XP on April 8, 2014. If you are still running computers with those operating systems, it is crucial that you upgrade as soon as you can. Here is why:

  • No support means no updates. In turn, this means greater security exposure. As new vulnerabilities and/or bugs are found, there will be no updates to fix them for these unsupported systems. There was already one known, major security vulnerability found in Server 2003 BEFORE its support expired. Microsoft declined to fix it since it would have required extensive overhauling of a system at its end-of-life. Each day you run these outdated systems, you risk exposing your network and data to an ever-increasing threat of breach. A data breach can cost your business a lot of money.
  • New software will no longer be compatible. There is no incentive for programmers to write software for a system that the manufacturer abandoned. You will have more and more difficulty finding programs that will run on these systems as time goes on. In particular, this includes anti-virus software, which is imperative because it is the only line of defense left since patching has stopped.
  • You are out of compliance. If you are required to be in compliance for just about anything, then running an out-of-date operating system will disqualify you. This includes compliance for HIPAA, FINRA, PCI, SOX, Dodd-Frank, and many others. The penalties for non-compliance can range from revoking your ability to take credit cards to fines, which could run into the millions of dollars (depending on your particular regulations).

Now, it’s true that in some cases it may not be possible to upgrade your computers. For example, there is still a lot of software that only runs on Windows XP or Server 2003. Mostly, these are found in the manufacturing industry. If this is you, then you should have or create a comprehensive IT plan to help mitigate the risk of running these older systems. Ideally, you will be working closely with IT professionals – in-house or external – that can help you with this. You should also begin looking around for replacement software that will work with newer operating systems.Here is some good news about upgrading your systems: It may not be as expensive as it sounds. Virtualization and cloud services have the potential to dramatically lower the cost of an upgrade. You may choose to use this as an opportunity to review current processes handled on your local servers. Some of these processes may be better-suited or more cost-effective in a hosted, cloud-based, or virtual environment. In addition, upgrading systems can improve their reliability and increase the ability of your workforce to do their jobs.