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3 Risks of Running Outdated Windows Servers

3 Risks of Running Outdated Windows Servers

by Stephanie Faris on Tuesday, August 07, 2018 11:30

If you have on-premise servers, chances are you're running a Microsoft Windows server. You likely even take measures to ensure you're always up to date on your software and firewall protection. But if you still have old operating system software on those servers, all of that work may be for nothing, since your biggest risk is your environment itself.

Microsoft maintains an ongoing list of Windows versions that have reached their end of life. Once Microsoft withdraws its support, you'll no longer have access to the patches you need to fend off the latest threats. First your software will reach end of mainstream support, but there's an extended support period where you'll still get the patches you need. When you pass that date, you're at risk. If, for instance, you're still running Windows Server 2008 with Service Pack 2, you reached the end of mainstream support in 2015. On January 14, 2020, though, extended support will end.

Here are three risks to continuing to operate these servers beyond those support periods.

Security Breach

On an ongoing basis, Microsoft releases updates, some of which are critical. These updates are designed to repair bugs and patch vulnerabilities. When Microsoft ends support, those updates stop coming, which leaves you open to cybercriminals, looking for a backdoor into an organization's network. In fact, those criminals may deliberately seek out outdated servers, realizing they'll be wide open. This means you may be at a disadvantage compared to the many other businesses that have upgraded to the latest operating system. Although such an upgrade may require an investment in newer equipment, when compared to the cost of a data breach, it's a bargain.

Loss of Benefits

PCI compliance is an important part of processing payments. If your server can't pass a compliance audit, you'll lose the ability to take credit cards, either on your ecommerce site or in your stores. You may also fail to pass compliance audits for sources like regulatory agencies for your industry. If you receive grant monies, keeping consumer information protected may be an important part of qualifying. Lastly, your own investors and business partners may have questions about your risks of a data breach and request an audit.

System Failure

Every day you run outdated equipment and software, you run the risk of a sudden crash. What happens if one of your older servers goes down without warning? Even if the files are backed up, will you be able to easily load up a new server and ensure it's functional without serious disruption to your business operations? This type of disaster recovery planning can be just as essential as purchasing liability insurance or ensuring your building is protected against an earthquake or fire.

As you upload your server equipment, it's important to be aware of another security risk your business faces. National Computer Warehouse Services provides hard drive destruction services that ensure your data remains safe. We'll erase all data on each hard drive, as well as shred it to prevent any chance of data retrieval. We can also take care of recycling your equipment with an approved local vendor. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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