5 ways to prep for the end of Windows Server 2003

University, IT industry discuss how institutions can best prepare for the switchover

server-Windows-2003Microsoft is ending its support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015, affecting 24 million systems, according to Microsoft statistics.

Though Microsoft won’t divulge the market share that represents, most of those affected servers are expected to be in large and small businesses, with a smaller percentage in higher education.

While the servers themselves will continue to work after the end of support, continuing with these servers is inviting crashes or information compromises, according to technical experts and the U.S. government.

The danger of operating an unsupported server, according to an alert from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S.-CERT) is the risk of viruses and other security threats, which could lead to “loss of confidentiality, integrity and or availability of data [and] system resources.”

While the end of support won’t impact colleges and universities as much as it will their corporate counterparts, there are still some of these older servers in higher education; meaning IT managers will have to determine how they will manage the migration to either Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012. Microsoft has yet to announce when its next version of Windows Server will be available.

(Next page: Best practices; what the Indiana University of Pennsylvania faces)