As of July 15th 2015, Microsoft will stop supporting Server 2003 for good. This means that if your business is utilizing this operating system, it’s time to make a move. We’ve outlined why in a few different blogs. If you’ve been putting the switch off, it’s time to get serious about making a change. We’ve outlined why in our FAQs blog on the topic, but something we haven’t covered is what opportunities are opened up for business owners that need to upgrade from Microsoft Server 2003.
The opportunity to upgrade to better hardware and virtualization.
When you purchased Microsoft Server 2003, the options were limited for business servers. You were required to have an in-house solution that hosted your data and applications and now that Server 2003 is no longer supported, odds are good that your server won’t support newer versions of the operating system. Rather than frowning at an additional capital expenditure (because it can be a little hard to swallow for a small business), see this as an opportunity to increase efficiency and explore virtualization options. Virtualization can make backups and recovery easier and allow you to organize data in a way that uses the server resources more efficiently. Virtualization wasn’t an option with 2003, but is the standard now throughout SMB technology. Moving away from 2003 means opening up some options for how you manage and backup your data.
The opportunity to explore the cloud.
With an aged server and a new operating system expense on the horizon, before you blindly go in making changes – you need to check out what your workflows and employee access look like and where you want them to be. Employees (and not just Millennials) are seeking more flexible work opportunities. Accessing data on the go, working remotely and allowing flexible work hours is something that is a priority on the list for many employees. A switch to the cloud could not only save you the capital expense of purchasing costly equipment, but give you the ability to open up new employment options, which could save you even more money, since 40% of workers that are seeking more flexibility are willing to accept lower pay for the additional freedom. This also breaks the upgrade expense down into a per user fee rather than a one-time expense, which is much easier for small businesses to swallow.
The opportunity to explore a hybrid setup.
It’s not just about hardware. It’s about your entire business and the workflows and processes. You need to sit down with a technology consultant and understand how your technology needs to be updated to accommodate the business struggles and bottlenecks that you’re experiencing. You’d be surprised how often productivity issues are a matter of an outdated server or business application. Services like Office 365 or Box are just a few of the hybrid cloud setups that we’ve helped small businesses embrace.
Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean that it is the long-term solution for your business. Technology is continually changing and rather than being upset that Microsoft is forcing you to move away from your server operating system, start looking at the opportunities that are presenting themselves now that your aged system is officially unsupported.