Tech Minute: The End of Exchange Server 2007 Support
And that’s all she wrote. Thank you for your ten years of service, but Exchange Server 2007 has reached its end-of-life.
Starting April 11th, 2017, it will no longer be supported by Microsoft and here is what it means for you.
Microsoft does a pretty good job of letting you down gently. They give you plenty of notice regarding the lifecycle of their products. And this isn’t the first time that Microsoft has stepped Exchange Server 2007 down.
Mainstream support ended in April 2012, and Exchange Server 2007 switched to extended support. With mainstream support, the server receives regular security updates, bug fixes, and new feature upgrades. Extended support means that customers still received security updates and some bug fixes, but no new feature upgrades.
Fast forward to 2017 and end-of-life means that support is now done. Your server isn’t going to stop working or explode. But, running a server without vendor support is hazardous.
If your server crashes, your IT support team will still be able to troubleshoot. Some issues, however, require vendor assistance. So if there's an issue that can't be resolved, Microsoft won't be able to help. There are some third-party supporters out there, but there's only so much they can do to keep old technology working properly too. Plus, as fewer companies use Exchange Server 2007, those third-parties will also dwindle, as demand lessens.
If a crash happens that can't be resolved, your only choice will be to upgrade in "emergency mode," which causes more disruption, downtime, and cost. Your best bet is to plan an upgrade now before it becomes an emergency.
Patches & Security
That brings us right to patches and security. Microsoft works daily to make sure that your server is safe. With end-of-life sentencing comes the end of security updates. This leaves your business extremely vulnerable.
Hackers are waiting for people to ignore Microsoft's end-of-life support announcement. They can now unleash viruses knowing that the security holes won’t be patched. The odds of being hacked increase dramatically when you run out-of-date technology.
What to Do If You Haven’t Switched Yet
If you haven't already migrated, you've got some catching up to do.
You have a couple of different options. Exchange 2016 is up and running. And as the latest Exchange Server, you’d probably have the most longevity on it. Keep in mind the migration process will take some time. It’ll likely be a two-stage process - from Exchange 2007 to 2013. Then from Exchange 2013 to 2016.
Your other option would be Office 365. Many companies aren’t buying new Exchange servers anymore. Cloud email solutions like Office 365 reduce capital expenses and eliminate the chance of a future outdated email server in one swoop. Sounds like a dream, right?
If so, this could be a good choice for you. With this option, it becomes Microsoft's job to maintain the infrastructure. Your IT team will still need to do the setup, security, and ongoing support. Otherwise, the server itself becomes Microsoft’s responsibility. Be sure to evaluate your Internet situation before switching to a Cloud solution. You'll want to make sure you have enough Internet bandwidth to run quickly.
Get together with your IT support professionals as soon as possible to plan your transition. Set a plan in motion to keep your technology up-to-date and your system secure. It’s the only way to keep your business safe.
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