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The Network Security Risk of Using Windows Server 2003

Windows Server 2003

On July 14, 2015, extended support for Windows Server 2003 officially ended, which introduced a unique set of issues for Windows Server 2003 security. According to the Internet services firm Netcraft, there are over 600,000 computers connected to the World Wide Web that are still using Windows Server 2003. This operating system was originally launched more than 12 years ago and the most recent significant update was released eight years ago.

All installations of Windows Server 2003 are exposed to increased electronic data loss, malicious attacks, and other types of dangers in the cyberspace. Continue reading to learn more about The network security risk of using Windows Server 2003.

The End of Windows Server 2003 Security Updates

New Call-to-actionAs a result of the end of extended support for Windows Server 2003, there will be no more security updates. In addition, the bug fixes and paid per-incident support that was previously available for the operating system is over. Although the vulnerabilities of this operating system are no longer addressed, it's still showing up in Microsoft's security bulletins as being affected software.

Are You Still in Compliance?

If your industry regularly deals with sensitive customer data, you may be out of compliance. Industries such as e-commerce, healthcare, and financial are subject to government or body regulations regarding computer security and privacy. Businesses operating in these sectors are discovering that physical and virtualized instances of Windows Server 2003 are no longer in compliance with regulated data or industry rules. More importantly, this noncompliance can spread across all data and apps being accessed with the OS. Although your data or system may not be compromised, your business could still fail audits, which could result in destroyed relationships with important business partners or even fines.

Your Operating System is a Gateway

If your OS is compromised, it can serve as a welcoming mat for data breaches. In reality, Windows Server 2003 doesn't operate alone on an island. It coordinates and communicates with your third-party business applications. As a result, any of your third-party business applications that are supported by or communicate with Windows Server 2003 could also be compromised.

See also: 5 Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Computer Security

Waste of Financial Resources

To continue using Windows Server 2003, your business will have to spend time, energy, and financial resources to prop up and patch outdated technology, essentially pouring money into a bottomless pit. As a result, your IT support personnel could lose focus on the bigger picture and enterprise goals. This tunnel vision could jeopardize several other critical systems and software as well as your most valuable and sensitive information. Simply put, continuing to operate Windows Server 2003 is a waste of valuable resources.

Migrating Issues

Despite all these security issues, one out of 10 servers in the U.S. are still running Windows Server 2003. Upgrading your server software isn't as simple as on a PC or mobile phone (and even that has headaches and unintended consequences). Our Microsoft-certified technicians at EnvisionIT solutions have upgraded many of our IT support clients to Windows Server 2012.

Migrating from Windows Server 2003 to a new operating system has its own set of trials and tribulations. Legacy applications that are unsupported could leave the business open to data loss and a wide array of other computer network security risks. It's vital to effectively deal with these risks by developing a comprehensive plan for changing over to Windows Server 2012.


meWritten By Kevin Gray

Hello! I am the Sales Manager and one of the Senior IT Consultants @ EnvisionIT Solutions. I help our clients envision great technology solutions that help their businesses grow.  Let me know if you have any questions. I am an avid outdoorsman who loves fly fishing and camping. I also love sports – soccer, basketball, football….