October 10, 2023, marks the last day of support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft has officially announced that these products will no longer receive security updates, bug fixes, technical support, or online technical content updates after this date.
Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 have recently reached their end of support as well. Without continuous support from Microsoft, these software versions become less secure and more risky to use, leading to the end of their product life cycle.
UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORY OF WINDOWS SERVER 2012/R2
The end of life for Windows Server 2012 shouldn’t come as a surprise to Windows users. On October 9, 2018, the mainstream support for the product came to an end after six years of service. However, Microsoft granted organizations an additional five-year support extension to allow them to transition away from Windows Server 2012. Now that this five-year period is nearly over and the product’s life is ending, businesses still running Windows Server 2012 need to plan and make the necessary changes.
REASONS BEHIND MICROSOFT’S DECISION TO END WINDOWS SERVER 2012/R2
Microsoft follows a fixed lifecycle policy for many of its commercial and consumer products, including Windows Server 2012/R2. This policy includes the following key attributes:
- Life cycle timeline at product launch
- 5 years of mainstream support
- Extended support for select products
The end-of-life for Microsoft’s products aligns with the life cycle timeline set during their initial launch. As Windows Server 2012 reaches the end of its extended support period, the product is also coming to an end.
IMPACT ON BUSINESSES AND IT PROFESSIONALS
The end-of-life for Windows Server 2012/R2 can have both positive and negative effects, depending on how prepared your organization is for the transition.
Positive Effects of Windows Server 2012 End-of-Life
If your business and IT professionals have already updated or migrated from Windows Server 2012, you can enjoy the following benefits:
- Continual tech support: Staying current with technology ensures ongoing support from Microsoft. If issues arise, you can rely on their expertise for assistance, ensuring the safety and health of your IT environment.
- Updated technology: Keeping up-to-date with Windows systems leads to faster and more efficient operations, increasing productivity and streamlining processes in the era of digital transformation.
- Adherence to compliance standards: Running supported systems aligns with regulatory compliance requirements, keeping your organization in line with industry standards.
Negative Effects of Windows Server 2012 End-of-Life
However, if your organization is still running Windows Server 2012 based on the motto “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” it’s time to reconsider. The potential negative effects of running Windows Server 2012 after its end-of-life include:
- Loss of tech support: Extended support will no longer be available, leaving you without assistance from Microsoft for troubleshooting. Running an outdated system increases the likelihood of encountering problems.
- Non-compliance: Using an unsupported system violates compliance standards. Failure to meet these requirements may result in significant fines.
- Security risks: Windows Server 2012 will no longer receive security patches or updates, exposing your system to potential vulnerabilities. This poses a significant risk to your organization’s security.
DETERMINING THE BEST PATH FORWARD
Selecting the right path for your organization requires careful planning and consideration. Whether you decide to migrate, upgrade, or purchase extended support, the key is to stay up-to-date with technology to ensure a secure and efficient IT environment. If your organization has any questions on how to upgrade your server into the new technology era, simply reach out to us.