It is crunch time, and with a little over 30 days remaining, many small businesses still need to address Microsoft’s end-of-support by January 14, 2020 for all Windows Server 2008\R2 systems in their network environment.
Much has been discussed on the risks of remaining on end-of-life Microsoft products, the most important being no security updates and no Microsoft technical support services. Businesses that remain on Windows Server 2008 exponentially increase that risk with obsolete hardware, resulting in compromised performance, higher maintenance costs, increased exposure to security events and unplanned downtime.
These compelling events are dovetailing and driving companies to act quickly to ensure minimal impact to their business. However, for many, determining the right migration path can be daunting. Businesses are unique and have a diverse range of needs and requirements, often struggling with how to define the best migration path.
While certainly all customers want security, stability and to lower costs, they may have a different strategy on what that means for their business and how to achieve it. The bottom line is not every small business has the same IT outlook and needs. Migration options run the gamut. They must address the myriad of existing services and applications – along with feasible migration paths available – especially critical line-of-business applications that may not have a readily available upgrade path. Firms must carefully consider the impact to their customers and users, all while balancing the future total cost of ownership.
Too often, a narrowly scoped solution omits critical considerations and hidden costs, frustrating many business owners without a true TCO.
How do individual firms with diverse IT needs and budgets determine the right solution when they may find value in different IT outcomes?
Determining the needs of any business should be the first step in defining the right migration path. While this step can feel overwhelming at the outset, carefully considered questions deconstruct business requirements to help simplify an IT strategy.
Utilizing this method, we have created a simple-to-use set of strategic tiered classes to help your business focus on the relevant options available to propel the right migration path that aligns to your business.
There may be several factors that require a business to maintain a single or multiple stand-alone system, such as localized Active Directory, network services, print services or line-of-business application with an on-premise architecture. A stand-alone replacement strategy provides a 1:1 upgrade of the impacted system(s), reducing the security risk, addressing regulatory compliance and leveraging newer hardware advancements with improved performance and stability.
Stand-alone replacement strategy considerations:
A consolidation and cost containment strategy is ideal for small businesses that want to reduce the number of servers in their environment. This strategy goes beyond multi-server consolidation; it also accounts for critical aging infrastructure such as older firewall technologies, switches and access points to further reduce and secure the IT footprint. While many vendors and businesses look for hosted offerings, these solutions oftentimes don’t address all critical aging network infrastructure or services that remain on-premise.
Reliability remains very important for businesses in this tier as well, and network monitoring and management, along with data integrity should be included in this strategy. In today’s modern network, users require always-on, always available and access from anywhere. A small business will truly reap the benefits of cost containment ROI if networks environments are monitored and maintained 24×7, and modern backup strategies are implemented. This takes the burden off the business, with long-term stability via increased business up-times and data integrity, paying IT budgetary dividends.
While some components of a strategy may be a cloud offering, without broadening the scope inclusive of all critical networking components, it will be difficult to realize true network consolidation opportunities and overall cost containment. The result will be limitations to a ROI.
Finally, small businesses should look to vendors that can build a strategy that eases the burden of high up-front capital expenses and provides an operating expense – subscription-type – budgeting model. Many businesses are shifting to this budgeting model, and consolidation and cost containment strategies should include this.
Consolidation and cost containment considerations:
The third tier takes a holistic approach and focuses an IT migration strategy around End User Productivity as the primary architecture driver. This method revolves around Gartner’s belief that today’s modern IT infrastructure and operations need to be always-on, always available, and everywhere. This tier innovates around the knowledge, skilled and task worker roles and their productivity requirements. Full-service end-point management and advanced productivity training, along with advanced security services are now becoming more considered and prevalent as the focal point for IT growth strategies. This tier expands on the first tiers discussed, and a full-suite approach should include advanced security protections, service desk, application productivity training, security training and full end-point management. This holistic approach, from network devices to servers, to user access and endpoints, exponentially increases productivity, further decreases downtime and maximizes true reduction in TCO and maximizes ROI.
End User Productivity: Advanced Security and Full-services Management considerations:
Microsoft’s end-of-support for Windows Server 2008 has created a compelling event and an innovation opportunity for many small businesses. While some have taken the quickest path forward and addressed the immediate need with a 1:1 replacement strategy, this event is an occasion for many to re-examine the future of their knowledge, skilled and task workers to modernize user productivity with access to always-on, always available and everywhere IT infrastructure.
This tiered classification will help guide small businesses to quickly deconstruct, ideate and create a strategic playbook to promote recommendations based on their unique business requirements. Our comprehensive suite of services, from our All Covered Cloud to stand-alone migrations or converged on-premise service replacement solution, like Workplace Hub, are helping customers innovate and realize lower TCO.
Utilizing this methodology, we have guided many customers on their migration path to Simplify IT.