Microsoft ending support for Small Business Servers (SBS)

IRIS ITMicrosoft, Small Business

Business colleagues working on computer and having problems


Microsoft is ceasing support to several server products on January 14th, 2020.

This directly affects you if your business is currently using Small Business Server 2011, Server 2008 SQL Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2010. The countdown to January 2020 is on, and preparations should begin sooner rather than later keeping in mind Christmas breaks.

End of Life (EOL)

When software companies decide to announce the end of life for software, it means that it will no longer be serviced or maintained. There will be no support for issues, no patches, updates or security alerts issued. Continuing to use this software is extremely risky, as there are many serious drawbacks from using software that is no longer maintained or supported. There is often resistance to updating or changing to new software after a favourite reaches EOL however the consequences should not be ignored. Businesses leave themselves vulnerable in various ways if they continue to use Small Business Server software after the published expiry date.

Here’s why.
  • It’s a security risk – During the life cycle of the software, engineers are constantly monitoring it for bugs and security loopholes. As an issue is identified they develop patches that will resolve them. Malicious attacks find new weaknesses in unsupported software there is no one to stop them from attempting exploits on businesses who continue to use it. These weaknesses remain open and well-publicised, like an open door for hackers. Here are a couple of stats to think about – Cyber Security Statistics for 2019 by Cyber Defense Magazine
    • Consider that 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses to realize the immense scope of the threat. (Source: Small Business Trends)
    • 31% of organizations have experienced cyber-attacks on operational infrastructure. (Source: Cisco)
  • It can cost money later – Switching or upgrading to replacement software may be time-consuming. Keeping the EOL software might seem like the path of least resistance to keep operating but as time goes on it will become more and more difficult to replace. If a business is slow to upgrade software that has reached the end of its supported life for financial reasons, it may also be operating on older less efficient hardware. Slow technology is a productivity drain that can end up costing a business in lost productivity, missed opportunity costs, along with security threats. Older tech is likely out of warranty and when things go wrong it can take longer to fix.
  • There may be compliance issues – Some industries are required to use certain programs or keep up to date with software developments. If security cannot be guaranteed because the software is out of date your business may not meet compliance regulations. Depending on the regulatory environment for your industry, there may be lawsuits, fines or even loss of clients if you choose not to update your business server software.
  • Compatibility may not be there – Similarly, to compliance, if your business operates within a larger network of companies or associations there may be a requirement to have compatible software. If you cannot communicate or connect with peers, contractors or other vested parties there could be unforeseen consequences.
What are your options?

Microsoft is phasing out Small Business Server, but it isn’t leaving customers without alternatives. Windows Server 2019 and Microsoft Office 365 for Business are both viable options. Here’s a quick look at three upgrade options for business servers.

Windows Server 2019

Windows Server 2019 is the most up-to-date OS option for small businesses. It’s the option for businesses that prefer to keep their own in-house servers.

Windows Server 2019 is the most secure server operating system released, with Advanced Threat Protection and Exploit Guard to ensure your environment is safe from attack.

Not only are the existing features of your current server such as file and printer sharing included, but Windows Server 2019 is also designed to integrate with the cloud. For example, data on your server can easily be integrated and shared with cloud-based services such as Sharepoint.

Microsoft Office 365 for Business

Office 365 is completely hosted in the cloud, which provides access from anywhere, and is not tethered to physical office networks.

It is a replacement for your in-house Exchange server and provides online email services in the cloud.

Office 365 offers several editions at different price points depending on the functionality required. You can select from a service that provides just email through to Office 365 software and data sharing using OneDrive and SharePoint.

Virtualise SBS on third party cloud hardware

If you need to preserve your SBS content but are not keen to migrate or are concerned about data transfer or loss, you may like to speak with us to arrange virtualising your SBS into the cloud. It can reduce overall costs and the management and security of the servers are maintained to strict standards. As the maintenance of the servers are conducted as part of a service package, there are often reduced overheads which can alleviate financial costs in the workplace.

About IRIS IT, your IT support partner

IRIS IT provides the design, build, installation and maintenance of secure IT servers and networks. We can help you to manage software end of life transitions and find the best solution for your business. Our trusted team are experienced able to explain complex issues to you in a language you’ll understand.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you.