Soon, on July 9, 2019, support will come to an end for all SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 equipment. If you’re still using these servers, it’s important to take action now so that there’s no disruption to your daily operations or loss of data. Any hardware or software product that reaches its end of life is a potential gateway for hackers to enter through.

In addition to the security hazard, there are other reasons why it may not be a good idea to keep using old equipment. We’ll review a few of those below.

Are There Significant Problems if I Wait to Upgrade?

The SQL Server 2008 has been around since the mid-2000s. While many business owners have been using it for years without problems and have relied on this equipment for daily work, as the End of Life (EoL) nears, it’s important to make arrangements to replace these servers.

At EoL for any product, there will cease to be support: Patches and upgrades will no longer be distributed and if you have problems, you’ll have to pay more for IT help. In addition, these servers pose a security risk even now because they’re older and easier for hackers to break into.

The newest line of servers comes complete with better cybersecurity features already built in. Just as with newer software products and browsers, most manufacturers are constantly perfecting security protocols to keep hackers out.

Once EoL for SQL 2008 or 2008 R2 arrives on July 9, 2019, users could run into problems like unresolvable outages. This could result in poor productivity and lost data – and as we know, downtime costs money.

When Should We Change Out Our Servers?

If you’re still using SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, now is the time to make the upgrade. It takes time to transfer all your data over to new servers; this process can be tedious and usually requires a few days or weeks to complete.

You’ll need your best IT hands on deck because this is an intricate procedure that must be done correctly to avoid conflicts with other equipment. It’s important to maintain the highest security while moving data so cyber thieves can’t break in and steal data during the process.

If you have a small, in-house IT department, it can be beneficial to hire some help from a reputable local Managed IT Service Provider. Keep in mind that your in-house staff is likely to be less experienced with moving data over to new servers. IT service providers can provide an added advantage as this is the type of work most do every day — They’ll know exactly what needs to be done and how to go about it. A Managed Service Provider can also get the job done during nights, weekends or when your business is closed, so the change out of servers doesn’t disrupt your employees’ work.

Although this type of upgrade may seem like a huge headache, it’s necessary to ensure business continuity and to mitigate significant risk to your business. And, once you get everything moved over to your new servers, you’ll be pleased with the faster speeds and better service they provide.

How Will Compliance Be Affected?

If you process credit-card transactions, you may not meet PCI-DSS standards if you continue to use out-of-date servers. This could result in penalties and fines. For others who must comply with industry regulations, it’s very important to make the switch. Anyone in healthcare, legal or government organizations can be heavily fined for compliance violations. As we’ve noted already, the chances of a data breach are much higher when using out-of-date software or hardware.

With cybercrime on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect your data; this begins with good cybersecurity. Not only can data breaches cause real financial damage to your business, but they can also do even greater harm to your reputation. With the proliferation of identity theft, ransomware and malware, most experts agree that it’s best to be over-cautious instead of the opposite.

How Does The Upgrade Process Work?

In order to complete this process successfully, you’ll need to map out a plan before beginning. Start with a list of all your IT assets. Then check to make sure all this is compatible with the new servers. Double check to make sure that all security protocols will be in place before, during and after the upgrade.

Good planning is an important part of the server change-out process. You can reduce downtime and inconvenience to your business operations when you plan correctly. Be sure to stay in contact with your IT department or Managed Service Provider. They should be supplying you with daily reports about how the process is moving along.

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Bill Wootton is the Founder and President of C3 Integrated Solutions, a full-service IT provider based in Arlington, VA that specializes in securing our nation’s Defense Industrial Base through cloud-based solutions and industry leading partners. Bill is passionate about bringing cyber-awareness, and cyber-maturity to the nation’s Defense Industrial Base, working with clients to help them achieve CMMC and NIST 800-171 compliance by providing MSP, security and Office 365 integration services.

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