Take End-of-Life Software Seriously – Ignoring Could be Costly

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Take End-of-Life Software Seriously – Ignoring Could be Costly

The mainstream support for SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 has ended and the extended support period featuring basic hotfixes is set to end by July 2022 and October 2023. This means that businesses still using any of these products will no longer receive critical security updates, which could expose them to cyber-attacks. Is your business at risk?

The threat of cybersecurity attacks has never been greater and it’s something that is at the front of every CIO and technical leader’s mind. Not responding to unsecure or unsupported platforms no longer receiving security updates, particularly for business-critical applications, is irresponsible.

The loss of customer data, the potential fines, and the fallout on brand and business image cannot be understated. In fact, it could be fatal to a business that does not take it seriously.

“There is no question that this issue should be a top priority for organizations running end of life operating systems like Windows Server 2012. Companies that choose not to move to the cloud, and keep their critical security updates in place, are risking customer data, regulatory fines, and their reputation.”

Olivier Meynier – VP Cloud, Americas, InTWO

The Problem

Upgrading to the latest version of a piece of core business software comes with significant challenges, including time, cost, and knowledge gaps. For example, companies running an ERP solution built on Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 have a hard-dependency on Windows 2012 or 2012 R2 and are now faced with the challenge of Windows Server 2012 End-Of-Life (EOL).

Those software solutions are highly customized, often extended with multiple 3rd party ISV solutions and/or with dependencies on other on-premises applications. This type of complexity is one reason businesses are scared to take action. They don’t want to touch anything because they’re scared it will fall over.

In this example, upgrading those business applications to Dynamics 365 implies a multi-year implementation cycle and significant cost investments.  

However, once Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 reach the EOL phase, they will no longer receive critical security updates, which means that companies with these products will no longer get future security patches from Microsoft. The option to receive a few more years of security updates via Extended Security Update (ESU) may be available but attached to a steep premium additional fee. This is the very real position that companies running applications on Windows Server 2012 products find themselves in. 

Fortunately, options exist to fix these problems. Solutions that will keep your systems secure and give you time to invest in wider development. Fixing these vulnerabilities may seem like a cost right now, but imagine if you’re breached by a cyber attack. Will you remember the cost then?

The Solution

Despite the potentially dire consequences of this situation, there are 3 potential fixes.

  1. Upgrade to the latest version of your Microsoft products. Be aware, however, that neither many older applications may not be eligible for an OS Windows Server 2012 upgrade. For example, this is the case for both Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and 2012.
  2. Continue using Microsoft 2012 products and receive critical security patches. Microsoft’s Extended Security Updates (ESU) program will be available for up to three years. Be aware that this is a costly program with pricing levels designed specifically to prevent customers from using it. Yearly costs are nearly a third of the full purchase price for Microsoft 2012 products.
  3. Move your applications and workloads onto Microsoft Azure virtual machines. With this option, Microsoft provides ESU for an additional 3-years for free. Therefore, migrating your Dynamics AX 2009 or 2012 ERP environments onto Microsoft Azure ensuring that all critical security patches are still applied to your critical business applications.

Additionally, if you decide to move to the Microsoft cloud, you can choose to run your software application on cloud infrastructure “as-is” (also referred to as “Lift-and-shift”) or, you can re-factor parts of the software application by taking advantage of Platform as a Service (PaaS). For example, Azure SQL is PaaS, and a level of service where you can run relational databases without having to manage the OS or the SQL software itself.

Unsurprisingly, the quickest solution for any business in this position is a move to Azure. It buys three additional years of Extended Security Update (ESU) at no additional cost and is the first step in moving critical workloads into Azure. Once the workloads are in the cloud, it becomes easier to reap the benefits of a mature cloud platform offering a multitude of options for, for example a rebuild of legacy software into Azure SQL, etc.

Your Business’ Safety is In Your Hands

InTWO is an Azure Expert MSP with over fifteen years of experience helping businesses take advantage of the optimal cloud-based solutions to challenging situations. Our understanding of Microsoft software and platform spans across functional implementation, development infrastructure management, and optimization as well as integration complexities built into any complex solution. We’ve seen it all.

We guide companies to make the changes that will keep their systems safe, in both the most cost-effective way and the fastest time. We have supported 100’s of businesses successfully migrating their complex Dynamics ERP solutions on Azure. 

Additionally, InTWO is an expert in Dynamics 365 migrations and implementation across the complete Microsoft Dynamics 365 product portfolio complemented with Microsoft Power BI and Power Apps. While migrations are never one size fits all, they always need to be done safely and securely. We have a great framework starting with a complete assessment that helps define how to rapidly take the best path for your unique situation.

Whether you choose us as your Microsoft specialist to help you bring your solutions up to spec, or another provider, just make sure it happens – your customers are counting on you.

InTWO is here to help you, so reach out when you’re ready.