The end of life (EOL) for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 is fast approaching, with the official EOL date set for October 10, 2023. As many law firms still rely on these servers to access key applications and data, it’s crucial to understand the implications of this EOL event and the necessary steps to take.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of addressing Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 EOL and how law firms can use this as a trigger to review their wider IT strategy.
Understanding Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 EOL
Microsoft has a lifecycle policy that provides support for their products, including Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. EOL refers to the point when a product is no longer supported by Microsoft, meaning they will no longer provide security updates, patches, or technical support.
Why Law Firms Should Be Concerned
Without regular updates and patches, law firms using Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 are exposed to security vulnerabilities, such as ransomware attacks and data breaches. According to the SRA’s Risk Outlook report, the SRA received over 200 reports of cyber incidents in 2020 alone – this was way before Microsoft stopped providing those critical security updates and patches!
The SRA Code of Conduct requires law firms to protect client confidentiality and ensure the security of client data. By continuing to use an unsupported product like Windows Server 2012 or 2012 R2, law firms risk non-compliance with the SRA regulations and GDPR, which can lead to penalties and reputational damage.
Outdated software can cause compatibility issues with newer applications and hardware, hindering efficiency and productivity. For example, law firms may experience slower response times and decreased system stability, which can impact billable hours and client satisfaction.
A security risk but an opportunity to review the bigger picture
Rather than simply replacing the server, law firms should use the EOL event as an opportunity to review their IT strategy and determine the desired business outcomes they want from their technology.
By doing so, they can align their technology with their long-term goals, such as remote work capabilities, leveraging the latest cloud technologies, and improving operational efficiency.
In any event, law firms should take the following steps to ensure a smooth transition from the EOL server to their desired outcome.
Steps to Take for a Strategic Transition
- Assess Business Outcomes
Before considering specific technology solutions, law firms should identify their desired business outcomes, such as increased flexibility for hybrid workers, improved cybersecurity, or greater client experiences. Then, build a wider technology strategy around those outcomes.
- Evaluate Current Infrastructure
Once those outcomes and the strategy have been defined, you should identify all instances of Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 in your infrastructure to understand the scope of necessary changes and create a plan for upgrading.
- Explore Upgrade Options
If you simply want to upgrade to a newer version of Windows Server, such as Windows Server 2019 or 2022, then this is a possibility. Or, depending on your strategy, you may wish to explore cloud-based solutions like The Access Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or AWS. Each platform offers its own unique benefits, so be sure to research and compare them.
- Develop a Migration Plan
Depending on your upgrade option, you may have engaged with a Managed Service Provider such as Access Managed Services, and their team of experts can now take you through a detailed migration plan.
On the other hand, you may be looking to take on the upgrade project internally. In this case, ensure you have a detailed migration plan that includes data backup, application compatibility testing, and staff training. Ensure the plan addresses your firm’s specific needs, budget, and timeline – you don’t want to be operating on the EOL 2012 past the deadline!
- Plan for User Adoption and Training
After the migration, it’s important to invest in user adoption and training, as new technologies or systems may require users to work in a slightly different way. By providing appropriate training and support, you can ensure a smoother transition and boost employee productivity while minimising any potential downtime.
Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 EOL poses significant risks to UK law firms, but it also presents an opportunity to review and enhance their IT strategy. By identifying desired business outcomes, engaging in strategic planning, and if necessary, partnering with a Managed Services Provider, like Access Managed Services, law firms can ensure a smooth and successful transition while optimising their technology infrastructure to meet their long-term goals.
About Access Managed Services
Access Managed Services is more than just a provider of managed IT solutions – we’re your dedicated partner in technology. We are passionate about making IT work seamlessly for your business, so you can focus on what matters most. Whether you’re looking to embrace hybrid or remote working, or simply need a reliable IT partner to manage your day-to-day operations, we’ve got you covered.