In 2002 Microsoft introduced its Support Lifecycle policy in which Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows and Office products, receive 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support).

Therefore, Windows XP, Office 2003 and Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 will go out of support on 8 April 2014.  If your organisation has not started the migration to a modern desktop, office platform or a more recent SBS server operating system, you are late but not too late. To ensure you remain on supported versions of Windows and Office, you should begin your planning and migration immediately to ensure you deploy before April 2014.

What does it mean to me?

After 8 April 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates for these pieces of software.

Running Windows XP, Office 2003 & SBS 2003 in your environment after their end of support date may expose your company to potential risks, such as:

• Security and Compliance Risks: Unsupported and unpatched environments are vulnerable to security risks. This may result in an officially recognised control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organisation’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information.

• Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) and Hardware Manufacturers support: Many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of their applications on Windows XP or Office 2003.  This will mean that future versions of your company software may not work or be supported on these versions of Microsoft software which may limit your protection and functionality from your third party software vendors.

• Small Business Server 2003:  If you’re a company still using SBS 2003 then it is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to discuss your options since Microsoft will be stopping the support and updates for SBS 2003 in April 2014 exposing the technological core of your business.

So what does this mean for your SBS Server? Other than SBS 2003, the other SBS versions (2008 and 2011) will still work & be supported and updated by Microsoft for many years to come. However, SBS 2003 will certainly need to be upgraded to a newer version on newer hardware to prevent your data becoming at risk from hackers and the many other threats that could seriously disrupt if not bring down your business. This is unfortunately a must.

What do I need to do?

If you do not know which versions of Microsoft software you are running, give us a call on 01823 250790 and we can help identify which one(s) you are currently running on your network. A good rule of thumb is if your server or PC’s are more than 5 years old, chances are you need to act.

If you would like to discuss the options available to you please call Albert Goodman I.T Solutions on 01823 250790 or email helpdesk@albertgoodman.co.uk  and we will be happy to give you a free consultation and quotation.

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