Does Your Organization Have Technical Debt?

Earlier this month Microsoft reminded customers that extended support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will end as of October 10th, 2023. Although the mainstream support date was actually October 2018, Microsoft delayed the end date for the extended support offer by five years so customers had time to migrate to updated solutions. We are now only a few months away from the end of extended support and organizations who may still be using Windows 2012 Server need to make decisions on how they plan to move forward. 

We will provide some options a little later in the article but this communication from Microsoft reminded us that many organizations accumulate what is referred to as technical debt which has implications on the success of an organization.

What is Technical Debt?

Technical debt is defined as the under investment in critical IT infrastructure and applications. Every organization has some technical debt. In many cases, the focus of IT investments is around transforming businesses quickly rather than on focusing on correcting or updating the technologies already in the IT environment. However, the more technical debt a business accrues, the less resilient and the higher the cost of running the IT environment will be.

Implications

As technology ages, it eventually, reaches end of life (EOL). There are security, operational, opportunity, and financial implications for continuing to use EOL technology for an organization. These include:

  • The technology is no longer being supported by the manufacturer. This means they stop providing technical support, parts, upgrades, bug fixes and security patches. This makes the technology vulnerable to cyber attacks and can compromise systems that are connected to the aging technology.
  • As technology ages it becomes prone to failures and the failures multiply and compound the longer the technology is used past it’s EOL. The cost of maintaining and keeping obsolete technology operating increases over time and equipment may become unserviceable when replacement parts are no longer available.
  • As the legacy systems age, they stop communicating with more modern technologies. In addition, fewer and fewer people have the technical expertise to manage these outdated systems which creates productivity and operational risks to the organization.
  • Aging technology will hinder an organization’s ability to achieve its business goals and compete effectively in the industry in which they operate, and this creates an opportunity risk.

It’s important to continually be looking at your technology stack to determine if budget should be set aside to reduce the security, operational, opportunity, and financial risks associated with running EOL equipment and software. Paying down some of the technical debt in a planned and controlled way will help businesses reduce the security, operational, opportunity, and financial risks associated with aging technology.

Windows Server 2012 

This takes us back to Microsoft’s communications regarding Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. If you still have these servers in your environment, we encourage organizations to upgrade to Windows 2022 or look at the feasibility of moving to the cloud. 

However, for organizations who still wish to keep their on-premises Windows Server 2012 running and want to continue receiving bug fixes and security updates, here are some of Microsoft’s recommendations:

  • Upgrade to Windows Server 2022
  • Purchase Extended Security Updates (ESUs). ESUs will provide three more years of security updates, renewable every year until October 13, 2026.
  • Another option being recommended by Microsoft is for organizations to migrate their databases and applications to Azure Virtual Machines. This will also provide them with free ESUs for three years after the end of support.

For more information on ESUs you can visit Microsoft’s frequently asked questions page.

MicroAge will be pleased to help you determine what options are best for your organization if you have Windows 2012 or Windows 2012 R2 or are reviewing and identifying your technical debt. Contact us today to start a conversation.

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