Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 End of Support: What Your Company Needs to Know

Announced on May 5th, 2023, Windows will end regular support of Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 on October 10th, 2023. This means that your company’s products will no longer receive security updates, non-security updates, bug fixes, or technical support. Ensuring the data of your company and your clients remains secure and accessible is imperative in today’s connected world.

What Options Does My Company Have?

There are essentially 4 options as Windows Server 2012 reaches its end of life:

  • Migrate to Microsoft Azure – cloud platform
  • Upgrade to Windows Server 2022
  • Purchase Extended Security Updates (ESUs) available until October 10th, 2026
  • Do nothing

Below, we will examine each of these options in-depth.

Migrate to Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s latest and greatest on-demand service is Azure, an all-encompassing cloud platform consisting of more than 200 products and cloud services designed to build, run, and manage applications across your network. If your company migrates its applications, databases, and services to Azure, you will receive free ESUs for 3 years beyond the end-of-life date. Azure also allows for efficient management of your hybrid workforce by integrating and managing both on-premises and remote clouds, as well as providing continuous innovation directly from Microsoft.

Upgrade to Windows Server 2022

Depending on your industry and your day-to-day operations, migration to the cloud may not be possible. Windows Server 2022 was released on August 18th, 2021, and has received regular updates and patches along the way. This upgrade will greatly improve your security, application hosting, virtual machine capabilities, as well as your network infrastructure. There are two important considerations to make if your company needs to upgrade from Windows Server 2012. The first, and potentially most important, is that an upgrade from 2012 to 2016 or 2019 is required before fully upgrading to 2022. This lends itself to much more risk during the upgrade process. The other consideration to be made is that Windows Server 2022 will end mainstream support on October 13th, 2026. Security updates will continue until 2031, following which, ESU’s will be available for purchase.

Extended Security Updates

If your company is not in a position to migrate to the cloud, or to upgrade on-premises, there is a short-term option to secure your data. Microsoft is offering up to 3 years of ESUs, available for purchase on an annual basis. This means that after October 13th, 2026, your company will need to upgrade its server hardware or move to the cloud. Pricing for these ESUs is the full license price annually, even though they only provide security updates. This means that no non-security updates, bug fixes, or technical support will be available after October 10th, 2023.

Do Nothing

Leaving your company, and by extension, your clients, vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches can be not only costly, but they can also carry legal ramifications as well. As a reputable business in today’s data-driven world, there lies an inherent obligation of privacy to your customers. There also exists a need to ensure the security of fiduciary obligations to key stakeholders. If your company’s cyber insurance policy requires updated and maintained hardware and software, there is a very likely chance that not pursuing an upgrade will nullify your coverage.

Furthermore, if you are in the healthcare industry or a company that processes credit card payments, compliance with federal organizations on data security is also of concern. As we have discussed previously, HIPAA compliance is just barely behind patient care in importance. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) can also refuse to process your company payments or invoices if your servers are not up to date. Please reach out to sales@appliedtech.us if you have any questions.

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