The Dangers of Running an OS Beyond End of Life
With the end of support for Windows Server 2003, Symantec offers tips for migrating from Windows Server 2003 that help safeguard data and maintain compliance.
Running Windows Server 2003 past Microsoft’s end-of-support puts entire enterprise environments at risk of cyber-attacks; systems could become unstable due to compatibility with newer hardware and software, and organizations could face compliance issues.
It can take 200 days to migrate systems off Server 2003. In the meantime, harden your system running Server 2003 by deploying solutions that will continue to support Server 2003 and lock down applications running on legacy systems. That is more secure and cost-effective than a Custom Support Agreement.
Because enterprise environments sprawl across fragmented environments and geographies, companies may be unaware that they use Windows Server 2003. Assess your entire environment to capture a full picture of systems that need to be migrated and develop a plan accordingly.
Consider running a pilot migration to work out pain points in a controlled environment. Small, remote environments are best for a pilot migration, and it’s critical to involve both IT and users.
If you are using a Windows Server 2003 certificate authority or struggling with the transition from SHA-1 to SHA-2 certificates, consider an alternative solution that’s easier to manage. Find solutions that can strengthen the company’s security, while reducing the complexities of managing an on-premise CA.
Before migration, back up your data to ensure that critical information is safe should something go wrong during the migration process. Also consider updating storage systems to newer physical servers, virtual servers or the cloud.
If your organization stores sensitive data you may be required to use supported operating systems per local or national compliance requirements, such as HIPAA or Payment Card Industry Security Standards.
To minimize downtime and enable a more budget-friendly migration schedule, consider using Host-based IPS/IDS solutions to harden the unsupported servers, monitor any activities in the application and OS kernels, and lock down admin and access rights to the critical application on these unsupported servers.