On April 8, Microsoft will no longer support Exchange 2003. The trusty decade-old email software is still used by more than 66 million people worldwide. With the impending deadline approaching many users will no doubt be asking, “Where do we go from here?”
Exchange 2003 is from the pre-cloud era, and business technology has changed dramatically since Exchange Server 2003 came out. The last couple versions of Exchange have brought more features and enhanced functionality, including S/MIME-based message security, Windows Server 2012 R2 support, OWA junk email reporting, and SSL offloading, just to name a few.
Since 2003, businesses have also experienced a culture shift regarding mobile device integration. Checking email on your smart device or tablet has become second nature to so many professionals as the devices have become more powerful and pervasive – Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are necessary for most businesses. Users have new expectations from their email, calendar and messaging environments that Exchange 2003 simply can’t fulfill.
If you are among the remaining users of Exchange 2003, you have several options available to you to prepare for the upcoming abandonment of Exchange 2003 by Microsoft support.
1. Remain on Exchange 2003: This is by far the most risky option, with the software’s End of Life imminent. Microsoft will no longer issue security patches, which leaves you open to security and privacy threats. In addition, you’ll be missing out on innovations offered by the newer versions.
2. Upgrade to on-premise Exchange 2010 or 2013: Unfortunately, an on-premise upgrade of Exchange 2003 involves more than upgrading licenses and installing servers. A successful Exchange upgrade typically requires the services of specialized Exchange migration consultants, as well as significant IT time and budget. You’ll need to invest time and money in network topology upgrades, and potentially address the following as well:
- Network and datacenter security investments
- Uptime planning and failover systems design
- Equipment upgrades (server, data storage, etc.)
- New software and support licenses
- Increased management costs of a more complex technology environment
3. Migrate to cloud-based Exchange 2010 or 2013: Companies can avoid the labor costs and capital investments of an on-premise upgrade by migrating to cloud-based Exchange. Choosing the right cloud provider will eliminate downtime risk, keep costs low and deliver a reliable, secure and integrated cloud environment.
For customers who have an existing on-premise Exchange 2003 platform, Hostway offers a free migration to a Cloud Exchange platform.
Making the move from Exchange 2003 to more recent versions of cloud-based Exchange is the safest, most cost-effective option. It’s perfect for companies who are looking for a secure, reliable email solution that is intuitive, familiar and simple.
Don’t fall behind – make the transition!