If you’re still using Microsoft Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2, it’s time to move quickly and upgrade your server operating system. The official end date of Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2 is October 10, 2023. Once this date passes, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates for the Windows Server 2012 operating system.
What Does Windows Server 2012 End of Support Mean?
End of support means that Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, security updates, or bug fixes for the operating system. This leaves the operating system vulnerable to security threats, and the likelihood of security vulnerabilities increases as time goes on. Without regular updates and patches, the operating system may become unstable, leading to increased downtime and decreased productivity.
As we’ve seen with other end-of-life operating systems, Windows Server 2012 R2 end of life will come with an increased risk as time goes on, with multiple new cyber attacks being launched to exploit the vulnerability of having an unsupported operating system and no more security updates. Continuing to stay on Windows server 2012 will also open your business up to possible compliance issues, for example, HIPAA guidelines mandate your business technology stays on an up to date operating system.
Windows Server 2012 R2 End of Life Options
If you still have servers on Windows Server 2012, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading your operating system. Upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server can provide many benefits, including improved security, better performance, and new features and functionality.
The most recent version of Windows Server is Windows Server 2022, which was released in October 2021. Windows Server 2022 includes many new features and improvements, including improved security, enhanced performance, and better integration with cloud services.
Another option to consider is migrating to the cloud. Many businesses are moving their operations to the cloud, and Microsoft Azure provides a secure and scalable platform for hosting your applications and data. You can either start looking at migrating completely to cloud services such as Microsoft 365 or build virtual machines within Azure to host your applications and files.
Option B: Extended Security Updates
If you are unable to upgrade your operating system from Microsoft Server 2012 due to compatibility issues with antiquated systems or other factors, there are still steps you can take to maintain the security and stability of your system.
- Purchase Extended Security Updates
If your Server 2012 or Server 2012 R2 machine is already in Azure, you are eligible for up to an additional year of extended support free. If your server is hosted on-premises, you will need to purchase additional extended security updates. You can find more info on how to do that on Microsoft’s Server 2012 ESU page.
- Implement Security Best Practices
With an end of life Operating System, you are leaving your network and data more vulnerabile to cyber attacks. If keeping your Windows Server 2012 active, it’s best to audit and imeplement best practices when it comes to cyber security to protect your servers from security threats. Ensure that your server has the latest security updates and patches, as these updates address known vulnerabilities. Regularly update your antivirus and anti-malware software, and ensure that your firewalls are properly configured to prevent unauthorized access.
- Monitor Your Server
Regular monitoring of your server can help you identify potential security threats or other issues before they become major problems. You can use tools like Microsoft System Center Operations Manager or other monitoring software to monitor your server’s performance, hardware, and software. This can help you identify issues with your server, such as performance bottlenecks or security vulnerabilities, before they become major problems.
- Back Up Your Data
Backing up your data is an essential step in ensuring that your server can quickly recover from a disaster or other event. Make sure to perform regular backups of your data and store them off-site or in the cloud. Servers running an OS such as Windows Server 2012 have a higher potential to crash, so it’s best to double check your backups are in working order with a documented and tested restore path.
Next Steps for Your Business
The end of support for Server 2012 is quickly approaching, and businesses still using this operating system need to start planning their upgrade or migration now. Upgrading to a newer version of Windows Server or migrating to the cloud can provide many benefits, including improved security, better performance, and new features and functionality. By taking the necessary steps to prepare for the end of support, you can ensure a smooth transition and avoid security risks and compatibility issues.
If you haven’t already started planning for this upgrade, it’s best to act now to prevent your OS being active after October 10, 2023. If you need to pay for an extended support period for now, that is fine but make sure you upgrade within that period before it lapses.
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