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What the End of Windows Server 2012 R2’s Lifecycle Means for Your Business

Most business owners realize that no technology — software included — lasts forever. Following suit, Microsoft recently announced that its support for Windows Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 will cease on October 10th, 2023.

For businesses still using these operating systems, it’s time to find another suitable solution, but if you’re without dedicated IT support or if your team is already overwhelmed, you may feel confused about what to do next. If that’s the case, the following guide is for you.

What Is Microsoft Windows Server and What Does It Do?

Windows Server is an operating system specifically created for use on a server, a powerful machine responsible for sending, receiving, and storing data as well as constantly running and providing resources for (or serving, hence the name) other computers.

Businesses of all types use servers to run everything from their VoIP systems to software suites. Servers can be dedicated to providing just one service (web, email, printing, user management, file sharing and database serving), or they may deliver many services to a client at once. Depending on the needs of your business, its server (or a collection thereof) may be stored in-house or offsite.

Why Do Server Operating Systems Go Out of Support?

Microsoft is constantly working on new operating systems and features to bring consumers and business owners the latest technology the market offers. In fact, when Microsoft releases a product, they have likely already decided when to end its lifecycle and move on to the next new thing beyond it.

Supporting an OS is a massive undertaking that requires plenty of time and energy to provide technical help, security updates, and bug fixes. Microsoft simply cannot continue to provide this level of service for every product in existence, so operating systems like Windows Server lose support to allow the company to focus its resources on newer and better products.

What Does It Mean if an OS Is Out of Support?

When an OS loses its developer’s support, it means more than users being unable to get technical assistance from the company. Some of the issues that arise when a product arrives at the end of its lifecycle include the following:

  • Not being able to run automatic updates
  • Not receiving security updates to patch vulnerabilities
  • Incompatibility with new programs or devices

These issues may not seem like big deals at first, but the changes are significant for businesses in many sectors. Working with an unsupported system can increase the likelihood of a costly data breach, for instance, so if you collect customer data, a lack of security updates means that you may fall out of compliance with data security regulations, opening your business to the possibility of hefty fines and penalties.

In addition, using industry-standard tools is critical to remaining competitive in your sector and delivering excellent products and services to your customers, but unsupported systems limit your ability to work with new tools and software. Google Chrome, for example, no longer works on Windows Server 2021 R2.

What Upgrade Options Do Customers Have?

According to Microsoft, customers have a few options for upgrading, such as:

  • Migrating to an Azure virtual server
  • Purchasing Windows Server 2022
  • Migrating to Microsoft 365 for Business
  • Other creative solutions AngelCom may have for your business

AngelCom customer, Camden Public Library in Camden, Maine, is decommissioning their 2012 R2’s and upgrading to Microsoft 365. As they are a non-profit, they will get their first 10 Microsoft 365 premium licenses for free. Most clients are choosing to migrate to Microsoft 365, and many are experiencing great success due to the move.

Why Is This Information Important?

While Microsoft makes upgrading sound simple, it may not be so for all business owners, especially those without an in-house IT team. Upgrades require time and careful planning to ensure proper implementation and budget allocation.

Having a dedicated partner like AngelCom IT Services ensures that you’ll have everything you need to make the right decisions about your technology. You’ll get the critical pricing information you need to accurately adjust your budget and IT expertise to ensure your upgrade goes smoothly. When you work with the right team, you’ll get your updates done quickly so you can get back to business.

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