The countdown to Windows Server 2012 R2 End-of-life: What You Need to Know: The end-of-life deadline for Windows Server 2012 R2 is Tuesday 10th October 2023. After this date the operating system will no longer receive security updates, technical support, non-security updates, bug fixes or online technical content updates. Once the support ends and Microsoft discontinues its automatic security and ongoing support, missing patches and updates will expose your network to vulnerabilities that could disrupt your business operations and compromise your sensitive company data. However, this can be avoided. Time is now of the essence to sort out a new solution to ensure your business remains complaint and secure. In this blog we will explore what this actually means, the benefits and considerations of upgrading to a newer version or migrating to a different solution, and the best options for your business.
What Does Windows Server 2012 End of Support Mean?
The end of support signifies that Microsoft will cease providing technical assistance, security patches, and bug fixes for the operating system. This situation exposes the operating system to security threats, and the likelihood of encountering security vulnerabilities escalates over time. The absence of regular updates and patches may result in system instability, leading to increased periods of downtime and reduced productivity. As observed with previous end-of-life operating systems, Windows Server 2012 R2’s approaching end of life presents a growing risk as time progresses. The absence of security updates creates an environment where new cyberattacks are more likely to target the system’s vulnerabilities. Staying on Windows Server 2012 also exposes your business to potential compliance issues; for instance, HIPAA guidelines mandate the use of an up-to-date operating system for your business technology.
What Are Your Options?
If you still rely on Windows Server 2012, it is time to consider your options for upgrading your operating system. Transitioning to a newer version of Windows Server offers numerous advantages, including enhanced security, improved performance, and access to fresh features and functionalities. However, there are other options for you to consider:
1. Upgrade to Windows Server 2022:
The most recent iteration in the Windows Server family is Windows Server 2022, released in October 2021. This edition introduces a host of new features and enhancements, with a strong focus on security, performance, and seamless integration with cloud services.
2. Migrate to the Cloud:
Many businesses are shifting their operations to the cloud, and Microsoft Azure stands out as a secure and scalable platform for hosting your applications and data. You can explore two primary cloud migration options:
- Full Cloud Migration (Microsoft 365): Migrate your entire infrastructure to cloud services like Microsoft 365 for comprehensive cloud-based functionality.
- Partial Cloud Migration (Azure Virtual Machines): Build virtual machines within Azure to host your applications and files, maintaining flexibility while benefiting from the cloud’s advantages.
In cases where upgrading from Windows Server 2012 is challenging due to compatibility issues or other constraints, you can still take measures to uphold the security and stability of your system.
Purchase Extended Security Updates (ESU):
If your Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2 machine is hosted in Azure, you may be eligible for up to an additional year of extended support at no extra cost. For on-premises servers, you’ll need to purchase ESUs separately, with detailed information available on Microsoft’s Server 2012 ESU page.
Implement Robust Security Practices:
Operating an end-of-life operating system exposes your network and data to increased cyber threats. To safeguard your Windows Server 2012 environment:
- Ensure your server stays updated with the latest security patches, addressing known vulnerabilities.
- Regularly update antivirus and anti-malware software.
- Properly configure firewalls to thwart unauthorized access.
Monitor Your Server:
Regularly monitoring your server’s performance, hardware, and software is crucial. Tools like Microsoft System Center Operations Manager or other monitoring software can help detect potential security threats and other issues before they escalate.
Back Up Your Data:
Maintaining regular backups of your data is vital for disaster recovery. Store these backups off-site or in the cloud to ensure quick restoration in the event of a crash or other unforeseen events.
Next Steps for Your Business
The end of support for Windows Server 2012 is swiftly approaching, necessitating action for businesses still relying on this operating system. Upgrading to a newer Windows Server version or migrating to the cloud offers numerous benefits, including enhanced security and performance. To prepare for the end of support:
- Initiate your upgrade or migration plan promptly to prevent your OS from being active after October 10, 2023.
- If required, consider investing in an extended support period, but prioritise upgrading within that period to avoid security risks and compatibility issues.
To find out more, please book in a free consultation.