You likely couldn’t escape the news that today, July 15, is Amazon Prime Day. But did you know that today is significant for another, more business critical reason?
As of today—July 15, 2015—Microsoft no longer supports
the Windows Server 2003 operating system.
Yes, it’s a big deal.
Just like its sun setting of Windows XP last year, Microsoft will no longer issue software or security updates to Windows Server 2003.
Consequently, malicious attacks on businesses utilizing the operating system will increase exponentially, as cyber criminals turn their attention to finding holes in its security armor. Hackers will also keep an eye on newly-identified Windows vulnerabilities, understanding that Microsoft will not be patching them for Windows 2003.
Vendor-supported operating systems and devices are a crucial part of any environment that aims to maintain a high level of security and compliance. The bad guys won’t stop writing malicious code or looking for flaws, so when a vendor stops fixing those flaws within a given operating system, any instance of that system within an environment immediately introduces risk.
Here is Microsoft’s July 14 Security Bulletin listing all known vulnerabilities, many of which could affect Windows Server 2003: Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary. One of the listed vulnerabilities is the result of a zero-day exploit from the “Hacking Team” breach. How many more of these are there that will be unsupported after today?
Server operating systems are typically public facing over the Internet, which makes securing them much more critical.
Can’t immediately migrate?
Perhaps you were well aware that today is a significant day in the world of Microsoft Windows, but you haven’t yet migrated away from 2003 because your current business operations can’t support the move.
In the interim, ensure the following for your Windows 2003 Server:
- It is patched up to the most current level possible;
- A good anti-virus/anti-malware solution is installed and kept up to date; and
- It is isolated behind a firewall.
What have we learned from Windows XP? That many businesses aren’t preparing themselves for required system upgrades well enough in advance. If your business hasn’t yet developed and begun executing upon its Windows Server migration strategy, today is the day to get started. The security of your IT infrastructure and business data relies on it!
Microsoft has created a special website, including tools and educational resources, to smooth the migration process. Access the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Migration Website here.
Regardless of your migration path, whether into the cloud or to a virtual or physical server, ControlScan can help you decide on the secure solution for your IT environment. Learn more about our managed security services.
Subscribe to this blog for additional tips and webinar announcements.