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5 min read

The Upcoming End of Windows Server 2012 Support Puts Your Organization at Great Risk


Windows Server 2012 support ends on October 10, 2023. What does that mean for you?

It means far greater risk to your organization.

You probably don’t think about your servers day to day. And that’s a good thing. That means they’re working—keeping you secure, operational, and compliant.

After October, the Windows Server 2012 operating system becomes a giant risk because: 

  • Microsoft will no longer provide security patches, opening you up to ransomware, malware, and cyberattackers from around the world.

  • Microsoft will no longer support Server 2012 functionality, opening the door to a wave of frozen, crashed, and slow computers.

  • You could be out of compliance and experience substantial fines, or your cyber insurer could deny your claims.

  • Thinking about getting a new application to help your organization? You may not be able to use it. 

Let’s see what could happen to you after October 2023 if you keep your Windows Server 2012 devices. 

Scenario 1: Cyberattack 

Reason: Microsoft will no longer provide security patching and other essential patches for Server 2012. 

End-of-life Windows operating systems become a ripe, ongoing opportunity for cyberattackers who relentlessly target its vulnerabilities with ransomware, malware, and other exploitations. 

The most famous example was the WannaCry ransomware unleashed in May 2017 that ended up impacting 300,000 servers and computers around the world. The majority of these devices used end of life Windows software. You will be in a similar situation with Server 2012 after October. 

If you cannot patch the Windows Server 2012 operating system, you will be open to ransomware, malware, and cyberattackers from around the world.  

Staying on Windows Server 2012 increases the chances of hackers breaching your systems or ransomware holding your organization hostage. 

Scenario 2: Unexpected, prolonged downtime 

Reason: Microsoft will no longer support the functionality of Windows Server 2012. 

A lack of Windows Server 2012 support doesn’t mean just losing security patches. Microsoft will also no longer fix bugs and reliability issues—the kinds of issues where, if not patched, lead to server crashes, freezes, and failures. 

It’s inevitable. Staying on Windows Server 2012 means you are opening the door to a wave of frozen, crashed, and slow computers. And the problem will only get worse over time. When more things break, you will lose more time. 

Of course, VC3 can still troubleshoot when issues arise, but you will be out of luck if something requires Microsoft’s intervention. The older an operating system gets, the more issues it will have. It’s inevitable that one of those issues will be its final demise because there’s no more manufacturer support. 

If you wait until things literally break, then you will need to suddenly and unexpectedly replace hardware, software, and applications—in an unplanned, unbudgeted, and unpredictable fashion. 

Scenario 3: Fines 

Reason: You are not in compliance. 

If your organization must meet regulatory compliance standards, running an unsupported operating system means you’ll fail compliance checks. The minute an operating system is out of support, you’re out of compliance and can experience substantial fines. 

Your cyber insurance policy might also stipulate that you must run supported software to qualify for coverage. If a cyber incident happens and you need to file a claim, it’s possible that it will be denied. 

Scenario 4: Inability to install new software 

Reason: The latest and greatest software will not run on Server 2012. 

Suppose you have an accounting database that runs on Server 2012. You’re at a conference and learn about a phenomenal new feature set that will make your payroll process go so much faster. 

When you explore this option with your accounting software vendor, they say, “I’m sorry – you can’t install it because it doesn’t support Windows 2012.” 

Thinking about getting a new application to help your organization? You may not be able to use it.  

Software manufacturers stop writing new features for older operating systems. Technology is a puzzle, and all the pieces have to fit together to work. When you want to upgrade a software application but it’s incompatible with Server 2012, you are held back. 

Start planning now 

A migration away from Server 2012 can take a long time—on average about 3-6 months! Why? 

  • Designing and scoping the project—including working with the application vendor(s)

  • Procuring hardware (if needed)—it’s taking 1-3 months for hardware to come in these days because of inventory shortages and supply chain issues

  • Installing the latest version of Windows Server

  • Implementing all other applications

  • Testing, rollout, and training 

As the end-of-support date approaches and more organizations begin moving to the latest operating system, resources will be scarce. 

Plan now to make sure you’re upgraded in time. 

Some possible options may include: 

  • Buying a new server: If your server hardware is more than 5 years old, it may need to be replaced due to capacity and age. Newer server operating systems are more robust than their predecessors, requiring more processing power and space on your server. If you wish to operate and maintain on-premises server hardware, then we can help you source, procure, and deploy a new server.

  • Move to the cloud: If you’re interested in avoiding the purchasing and maintenance of hardware, you have better cloud options today than ever before. For large organizations with multiple sites or 24/7 operations, moving to the cloud is a great way to ensure your infrastructure is always online, no matter what. For smaller organizations with minimal server needs, the Microsoft 365 platform offers many serverless options—eliminating a big capital expense every five years and replacing it with a simple subscription price at a certain tier.

  • Spin up a new virtual server: Moving from Server 2012 to the latest available operating system is a software-level change. So, assuming your server hardware has enough resources, you can spin up a new virtual server on the latest operating system, install the latest compatible versions of your applications, migrate your data, and you’re off and running. 



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