Microsoft Windows Server 2012 End of Life: The Hidden Threat

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 will reach its end of life on 10th October 2023. This means that after this date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for the operating system. This is a critical security risk, as unpatched systems are vulnerable to attack.

It’s also a problem for those of you who don’t know you are using a Windows Server 2012 or don’t have access to it because you can’t see the hidden threat advancing.

In this article, we will take you through exactly what you need to know, how to prepare for October and our recommendations for what you’ll need instead.

What you need to know about Microsoft Windows Server 2012’s support end

Several people have asked us, “Is Windows Server 2012 still supported?” The answer is that support will finish on 10th October 2023.

If you continue to use Windows Server 2012 after support ends, you will be at increased risk of security vulnerabilities and attacks. This could include data breaches, financial losses, and other negative consequences.

The other huge problem is that your work won’t comply with industry regulations, especially those with security framework guidelines.

Then, of course, there’s the productivity issues with an out-of-date server. Remember, servers running this OS will be between 8 and 13 years old. The recommended lifecycle of a server is between 3 and 5 years, 6 at a push. That’s why you are frustrated with your slow data retrieval!

It is crucial to take action to migrate to a newer, more secure platform before support ends. This will help you to protect your organisation from the security risks associated with the end-of-life of Windows Server 2012.

What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t make a switch and go unsupported?

Here are some of the specific risks associated with running an unsupported operating system (OS):

  • You will be more vulnerable to security vulnerabilities and attacks. This is because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for the operating system. Security updates are vital because they patch vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit.
  • You may not be compliant. Your cyber insurance probably won’t cover you if your Server 2012 is breached because Microsoft has withdrawn support and updates. This can cause untold problems, including fines and even lawsuits against your business.
  • You may experience performance and stability issues. This is because Microsoft will no longer provide bug fixes for the operating system. Bug fixes are important because they can improve the performance and stability of the operating system. You’ll also be running older tech, like slower spinning disk hard drives rather than SSDs. While that might not feel like a hardship, I can guarantee your business and staff will notice a significant difference in running the latest servers. 
  • You may not be able to install new features or applications. This is because Microsoft will no longer provide new features or applications for the operating system. New features and applications can be important for staying up-to-date and improving the operating system’s functionality.
  • You may not be able to get technical support from Microsoft. This is because Microsoft will no longer provide technical support for Server 2012. Technical support can be necessary for troubleshooting problems and getting help with your OS.

Here’s how to check if you need to take action.

Checking if you are using Windows Server 2012

Your first question will naturally be, “How do I know if my computer(s) use Windows Server 2012?”

Many servers are tucked away without even a screen, so checking what you are running isn’t always easy. The best first step is to establish where your server(s) is (are), who has access to it and if an IT provider runs it.

If you can access the server, there are a few ways to determine if your computers use Windows Server 2012.

  1. Check the computer's operating system. You can go to the Start menu and click the Control Panel. Then check the “system type” by selecting System and Security and then System.
  2. Or the best way: Have your IT support run the systeminfo command. The command output will include the name and version of your computer's operating system. We highly recommend that your IT experts do this for you, which entails looking into code.

Once you know you are using Microsoft Windows Server 2012, you can start preparing for what, where and when you’ll switch.

What should you switch to?

Your options are:

  • Purchasing a new server with Windows Server 2022 on it. This is the most expensive option but will give you the most control over your environment.
  • Moving to cloud solutions means using a cloud-based service to host your applications and data (not a server). What’s a cloud solution? Let’s give you an example. You can use Xero, a cloud-based accounting app, to create and store your financial data or use something like Hubspot to handle your CRM data. You can integrate the two together to share data to automate productivity and reporting. You would need an internet connection and to log in through your browser to access your information and possibly multiple integrations. This is more affordable than buying a new server, but your environment will be governed by the customisation allowed for in your service plans.
  • Moving to a cloud server in Azure. Here you’ll have no physical server hardware to manage and replace. Scale up and down is easier and quicker than a premise server. Azure services give you access to multiple software applications.

What Westway IT is doing to help customers migrate from Microsoft Windows Server 2012

We are currently booking and running migrations for any affected clients.

Our recommended solution is to switch to an Azure cloud server. We believe this gives you more control and more traditional applications.

The access anywhere option allows you to use Azure’s cloud server for web apps or have a Windows virtual desktop setup. This is essential for the modern workplace where staff are often hybrid working, and it’s also quicker to scale.

The other significant advantage (and cost-saving) is not needing to invest in on-premise servers, which need upgrading every 3 to 5 years. You’ll still need to update your Azure OS, but this is far quicker and will continue to be supported by Microsoft for far longer than traditional servers.

If you are a smaller business, cloud solutions may be your better option if the apps you want to integrate are available.

Either way, we can set up the right migration plan for you!

Are you a business in the Gloucestershire area looking to migrate from Windows Server 2012 to Azure or the cloud? Let us help you: give us a call today!

Here’s your handy checklist for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 End of Life

  1. Work out if you are using Server 2012
  2. Consult an expert to help you decide which migration option is best for you (we recommend Microsoft Azure)
  3. Timeline your migration project with your IT expert, including testing
  4. Budget your migration project
  5. Prepare your staff for migration
  6. Prepare and backup your data for migration
  7. Have your new server system installed
  8. Train your staff to use the new server system
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