Many businesses, especially small businesses, are hesitant to replace their old server. They figure what they’ve been using thus far has worked for them, so why change anything now? Many also worry about the costs associated with upgrading to a new server. In this day and age, though, a server is such an integral part of running a business that proactive steps should be taken to perform a comprehensive analysis on whether your current old server is really the best option for you. There are significant potential impacts to hanging on to that old server. Let’s take a look at things you should consider:
You’re no longer compliant
Microsoft recently ended support for Windows 2003 servers on July 15, 2015. This has enormous consequences for businesses across many industries. If you’re no longer receiving security patches and updates for your server, you are likely not compliant with any industry-specific compliance standards that apply to you. If your business deals with credit card transactions on a Windows 2003 server or older, you are not compliant with Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations. Additionally if you are using a payment gateway such as Authorize .NET, Windows 2003 lacks the ability to securely communicate because of protocol support.
Similarly, HIPAA required that all businesses dealing with health records be migrated off of Windows 2003 prior to the end of support date. In either of these cases, your business can be subject to some hefty fines and/or vendors/partners ceasing to engage your company for business If your business is housing sensitive data (EPHI/PII, Credit Card transactions, Financial Information, or any information defined as sensitive) your security should already extend above the basics of compliance. Using an outdated, unsupported server means higher risk to the security of this information and potential loss of business. Migrating to a new server or a relevant and secure cloud based service should be your highest priority.
Are you ready for a disaster?
Your server is your business’s lifeblood-- it contains every document, every piece of software you and your employees use on a daily basis. The longer you stick with your old server, the more likely it will degrade to a point when it simply fails with no chance of repair. Are you ready for when this happens? If you aren’t backing up your server or don’t have a comprehensive contingency plan in place, you could be setting your business up for some serious losses. Your employees aren’t able to be productive and you suddenly have a significant unplanned cost to deal with. If your server goes down, your business might go with it. Installing a more reliable, newer server means the chances of complete disaster are lower.
While a server replacement will be required in the majority of cases where a failure has occurred, there are additional services that can be utilized to augment the new server and further help your contingency planning. Windows SBS, for instance, included Microsoft Exchange Server-- which for small businesses represents a huge cost savings compared to moving to a cloud-based solution like Office 365.
Is your old server secure?
Without support, your old server will not be as secure as it needs to be. Providers such as Microsoft provide ongoing patch updates to provide server security against the latest threats. Once a server reaches the end of its support date, it becomes an easier target for hackers who are aware that the security holes they find will not be corrected any time soon. If your business is using an older server, chances are your data security is under threat. A newer server will make the most of the latest server technology and be far more resistant to cyber attacks.
You’re missing out on the productivity boost a new server provides
Upgrading to a new server simply enables your business to run better. Remote desktop services in Windows Server 2012 have come a long way since its origins in Windows NT. Features such as server farms with web brokering, which previously required 3rd party applications to achieve are now native to the operating system giving the end user a far smoother experience.. This means they’ll be able to log onto their work desktop from anywhere-- no more work days wiped out because of snowstorms. Newer servers also enable you to better utilize virtualization, which gives you the option of combining virtual machines onto fewer physical servers. As a result, less power is consumed, and it costs less to run your data center.
Your server is an incredibly important asset to your business-- so why not treat it as such? If you’re using an old server, you might have already be seen the signs: slowness and random crashes could be signs that it’s about to die. You owe it to yourself to seriously consider an upgrade to your server.