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Can Microsoft Software die? And then what?

Many of our clients and partners don’t know this – but it’s true: software can die too. And contrary to the popular belief that all things ‘digital’ can live forever, each human year is much like 25 software years. Yes, your dog will long outlive most Microsoft applications.

Leaving similes aside, let’s get serious. What happens to software when it reaches “end of life”? Well, basically, Microsoft discontinues all security patches and updates for that particular piece of software, and almost more importantly, it ceases all SUPPORT for that software.

Of an official Policy FAQ from Microsoft, read here:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

With the lack of updates and patches, the chances of a vulnerability going unnoticed, and an attack taking down an entire network because of that one, lone end-of-life application being installed on that lone PC Increased significantly. This is a chance most companies should NOT take.

And who needs support? Well – we all do. Software breaks – and one major reason people buy software made by reputable companies is – when it does break, reputable companies will help you fix it. (There are tons of stories in our industry about Microsoft support being on the phone with an IT guy for 14 hours to bring an Exchange server back to life.). When your company is relying on any of those Applications to conduct business, and they are no longer supported by the company who made the software, if something does break, you’re pretty much on your own, and your company is in danger of losing data, losing clients, and possibly even going out of business – we’ve seen it happen (not to any of our Managed clients, of course).

For instance, did you know that Windows 98 is no longer supported by Microsoft? If you have any PC’s in your network that still are running Windows 98 – you should upgrade them or simply get rid of them ASAP. Trust us, it’ll be worth it. If you’re running some application that won’t work on Windows 2000 or XP – then change out that old application, because chances are, that application itself is no longer supported either!

Here is the info on Windows 98 end of Life:
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=6513

Now, let’s talk Servers, the ENGINES that run most companies. And let’s specifically talk Microsoft Exchange (one of the Jewels in the Microsoft arsenal, and one of the most widely adopted email and collaboration suites). If you’re running version 5.5 or older, you’re out of luck, my friend. The last day THAT was supported was 1/1/2006. Yup, that’s nearly a year ago.

You think we joke? Read below
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=1776

Click here to see if YOUR server application is on the End of Life list:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselectserv

And to check ALL Microsoft applications, click here:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeselect

Do your homework! Don’t run your business on anything that’s End of Life. This practice is 100% on our Best Practice Non-Compliance (BPNC) list. And all of our managed clients are educated about the above, and we make SURE, we perform the upgrades as soon as possible. You should follow the same process and philosophy.

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