Businesses spend millions of pounds on data centre security, and for good reason. Data is one of the most valuable assets we have, along with the hardware and software that manages it. It’s rare to find a data centre that isn’t equipped with state of the art security; biometric locks, backup generators and comprehensive fire suppression.
When all this effort goes in to protecting business assets, it seems unlikely that the biggest threat to security could already be inside the data centre. Yet out of date, unpatched software is one of the things hackers look for when they prowl the internet, and your Windows server could be the invitation they’ve been waiting for.
The Problem With Windows
Windows Server is, generally, an excellent server solution. It’s built for enterprise performance, and its security is second to none – providing it’s kept updated. Microsoft’s update services for Windows Server keep software up to date automatically, at least while the product is current.
However, businesses can only count on Windows if it’s well maintained and up to date, and that’s where things get tricky. If Microsoft puts a product into an End of Life (EoL) phase, it’s a sign they need to take action fast.
In July, Windows 2003 is going to completely drop off Microsoft’s support schedule. There will be no patches, and no protection against new threats. If businesses are complacent about the potential consequences, they could find themselves with an expensive mess to clear up when hackers discover their old, unpatched server. And there is consequences way beyond data loss.
Compliance and Risk
Some industries attract much bigger compliance worries than others. While a small start-up need only protect a few hundred customer records, a large bank or insurance company has a much larger client base to protect.
It’s not just about usernames and passwords, either. There are myriad complex regulations covering consumer data, particularly in finance and medicine.
If any business is still using Windows 2003 after July 2015, and there’s an attack on the server, they’re vulnerable, and they only have themselves to blame. If the breach reaches the Information Commissioner’s office, there will be huge fines to pay, and the likelihood of negative media attention.
Worryingly, few businesses seem to have registered how serious this could be. According to research by Foxall, the End of Life for Server 2003 has attracted just 5 per cent of the publicity that Windows XP’s EoL attracted.
Replacing servers can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Time is fast running out. If you haven’t taken action to retire your Windows 2003 server, you need to act fast to mitigate the risk, and we can provide a customised service that will help you meet the July deadline.
Cloud4 can set you up with hosted cloud servers – managed machines that slot directly into your existing data centre infrastructure. We can offer off-the-shelf solutions, or bespoke configurations especially for your business. Whether you’re already cloud-based or you’re yet to migrate, a cloud server is the ideal solution.