By Sheryl J. Cherico, CEO – Tier3MD

It’s time to start thinking about replacing your Windows 2003 servers. It’s definitely not too early to start planning out. Actually, if you wait much longer, you will be late. In April, 2014, Microsoft ended the support for Windows XP. We had clients starting to replace them in January, which eased the pain a bit. Some purchased 3-4 PC’s per month, while others went ahead and did 50 or more at one time. However they did it, it needed to be done.

What I noticed at the time, was that a lot of people waited until the very last minute. The staging area in our office was filled with hundreds of PC’s. It was ok, we pulled our resources together, and got everyone installed on time, with no problems. After the installs were all done, I started thinking about Windows 2003. Waiting until the last minute is NOT going to work. Moving data off of your servers is going to take planning. Depending on which solution you choose, could also cost you more money. Here are some things you need to think about:

1. Do you want to purchase a new server, or go into the cloud? If you purchase your own computer, keep in mind that you will also need to purchase a backup solution.

2. Does your application vendor support you working in the cloud? Does the application itself have the right spec’s to be put into the cloud?

3. Will upgrading your server mean you have to upgrade your software? If so, will that involve training of your staff?

4. How many applications are on your server, and what would the migration look like?

5. Is your 2003 server an exchange server hosting your email? If so, what would that migration look like?

These are just a few things to think about with the end of life coming for Windows server 2003 in July, 2015. In order to remain HIPAA compliant, you will need to replace these servers. The End Of Life means there is no support for the operating system, and no critical security updates. This would make your system vulnerable to hackers. For example…if a virus or hack comes out that targets Internet Explorer, Microsoft will not come out with a patch for it.

Call your IT provider now and schedule a consult to get started on your Windows server 2003 migration. Don’t wait until the last minute. Waiting will not change anything.


Sheryl is the CEO of Tier3MD and one of the leading Healthcare IT Consultants in the country.