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Are You Ready for the End of Support for Windows Server 2003?

Are You Ready for the End of Support for Windows Server 2003?

61 percent of businesses are still running Windows Server 2003, which won't be supported after July. Here's how to capitalize on this and find some new clients.

Thursday, April 23, 2015/Categories: cyber-risk

Microsoft has posted its guide to migrating from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012, Azure, or Office 365 as it prepares to end support for the decade-old product later this year. After July 14…

  • Microsoft won't be offering free security updates.
  • Businesses with old software may be exposed to cyber attacks and hacks.

As Rackspace reports, it's been years since Microsoft has offered significant upgrades for Windows Server 2003. The support it offers is more like "life support" – just enough security updates to keep this technology alive and secure.

It may not be so simple to make the switch. According to Fierce CIO, 61 percent of businesses are still running Windows Server 2003. Many of them are small to mid-sized companies that have limited tech budgets. Let's look at what you need to know as your clients migrate from Windows Server 2003.

Wait… What? 61% of Business Are Running Windows Server 2003?

Though many companies are slow to upgrade their software, it's still a bit shocking that over half of them still run Windows Server 2003. Why are they dragging their feet?

According to the Inquirer, 72 percent are concerned about compatibility issues with other IT. An upgrade to modern server technology means upgrading a lot of other technology that goes along with it.

Savvy IT consultants are probably thinking one or two moves ahead. If you position yourself right, you could get new business from clients looking to upgrade from Windows Server and move to cloud applications or other IT they've been missing out on.

Acquiring New Business from the Windows Servers Migration

Because Microsoft will start charging $600 a month for Windows 2003 support after July 14, your clients have a financial incentive to make the switch – in addition to the security improvements that will come along (more on that later).

In our article "3 IT Sales Tips to Help You Avoid Becoming a Free Consultant," sales guru Kevin Hallenbeck makes a couple suggestions to improve your IT sales...

  • Determine your client's budget, timetable, and willingness to move on the sale.
  • Listen to your client's problems and find their "pain points."
  • Tailor your sales approach to answer their concerns.

As your clients switch from decade-old technology, they're probably looking to move toward cloud-based solutions that won't require upgrades in the future (saving them from this hassle later).

Capitalize on Client Concerns about Cyber Security

Microsoft's announcement is striking a chord with clients who are concerned about how susceptible their technology will be to cyber attacks and data breaches. With Window's 2003 no longer supported, it will be an easy target for hackers set on pilfering a client's private data.

This issue is both good and bad for IT consultants because…

  • Data security is such a big concern that many companies are allocating more money for security upgrades.
  • Data breaches can lead to lawsuits against IT consultants, sys admins, and other tech contractors.

It's no secret that IT contractors have been able to sell security to their clients. Increased receptivity to data security improvements could mean more work for you (and some bigger contracts).

But there's also an increased risk. Say one of your long-time clients is hacked. They're running old Windows Server 2003 technology, and they sue you, claiming you should have advised them to update to better technology. Any time you're dealing with software that has a security risk, there's a chance you could be sued. (Errors and Omissions Insurance can help cover these tech lawsuits.)

As always, do your homework, keep current on industry risks, and position your business to take advantage of new IT sales opportunities as clients look to switch to better technology.

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