One of the most daunting, challenging and time consuming projects for IT teams is the upgrade and roll out of a new operating system. Migrations drain resources and can be disruptive to business operations if not planned for in advance. That said, in today’s landscape of increasing security risks, it’s imperative that IT teams respond to these updates in a timely manner in order to prevent introducing unnecessary risk to corporate assets.
In the last year alone we have seen the end of life for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, and Microsoft has released a sunset date for Windows Vista in 2017 and Windows Server 2008 in 2020. Still, nearly 17% of internet users worldwide are using XP and they are dreading the impeding force to a new operating system. Governments, large corporations and health care systems have been clinging to their dying XP OS while they waited for the long anticipated Windows 10 release before investing the effort and cost into migration.
The resistance to migrations isn’t isolated to user machines. Windows Server 2003 houses millions of business applications. Gartner estimates that there are still 8 million of these servers in operation, most of them running mission critical infrastructure like ERP and CRM systems. Whilst the number of machines running Windows Server 2003 might be much smaller by comparison, taking the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” approach leaves companies exposed to the looming threat of security breaches.
So why not just upgrade operating systems?
Well, for many reasons; time, resource, cost, hardware/equipment compatibly, the list goes on and on.
For many IT departments the complexity of migrating these systems is not just arduous, it involves careful planning and coordination across the entire organization. Windows Servers, for example, will often be running database applications which then have multiple API integrations and plugins for other applications such as CRM, Accounting or ERP software. Over the years these systems and applications have been built to become an integral part of how the business operates often customized for unique business operations. In order to minimize the impact to daily business operations, system migrations must factor in time to move files, configurations, API’s and integrations and ensure that they are tested and stable in a new environment. In Gartner’s estimates, these migrations will require between nine and fifteen months to complete, but the cost of doing nothing could be much higher.
Recent database breaches and increasing cyber threats have many organizations waking up to the idea that they simply can’t afford to continue operating on these obsolete platforms any longer. Still, the fact remains that, companies that didn’t start the migration journey in time to avoid the end of life are having to now take additional security precautions to safeguard these environments.
So now that we’ve adequately explored the FUD associated with outdated operating systems, stay tuned to our next blog in this series which will provide some light at the end of tunnel. We will explore system requirements and the transfer of configurations to prepare your environment for these or any future operating system migrations.
You can also learn more about operating system migration and imaging by viewing our on-demand webinar “Operating System Imaging Made Simple”.
BOSS Solutions is a U.S. Company providing innovative software solutions to meet the need of customers in service management. The company’s major product lines are BOSSDesk that provides IT Service Management on the Cloud, BOSS Support Central – that provides IT Service Management On-Premise, and BOSS811 a one call ticket management solution for the damage prevention industry.