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How to prepare your business for Small Business Server 2008 and Exchange Server 2007 end-of-life

Posted April 03, 2017

Are you still running Microsoft Exchange 2007 or SBS 2008? If you are, time is quickly running out to prepare your business for the looming deadline that marks the end-of-life for these products.

By Chad Gowrea, Director - Solutions and Strategy

Mainstream support for Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) ended in 2015, leaving the platform in ‘extended support’ mode only. This means no more fixes other than for security-related bugs. Exchange 2007 is also in extended support, but only until April 11. After this date, no further security patches will be released and the entire server will be unsupported. Microsoft has warned that once any product becomes end-of-life, the entire unit is no longer under support.

Many small businesses run Microsoft Exchange on top of Windows Small Business Server. At the time of release, Exchange 2007 delivered a powerful upgrade from Exchange 2003. A decade later, the time has finally come to move on. Exploits keep emerging and any business that remains on an unsupported platform is leaving itself vulnerable. It’s a security disaster just waiting to happen.

Whether you intend to upgrade to a more recent on-premises platform, or transition to a cloud-based solution, your migration will take some time to plan and implement.

If you’ve decided to make the move, you’re probably wondering what your options are.

Start by checking which version of Microsoft Exchange Server you have

It’s quick and easy. Just follow these steps:

1-      With Microsoft Outlook running, press and hold CTRL while you right-click the Outlook icon in the notification area (what you see on the right-hand side of your screen, at the bottom).

2-      Click Connection Status

3-      You should see your server name – In the example below, the person has Office 365.

*If you don’t have Office 365, note that a number appears under the Version column heading. Compare the number with those in the table below:

Upgrade to Exchange Server 2010, 2013 or 2016

Simply upgrading to a more recent version of SBS and Exchange may be the fastest, easiest and most straightforward choice. SBS and Exchange 2010 are already in extended support, and the 2013 versions soon will be too. This is a temporary solution and you’ll end up repeating the exercise in a few years.

Exchange 2016 is a more long-term option, but unfortunately there’s no direct upgrade path from Exchange 2007 to 2016, so you’ll need to plan for a time-consuming, two-phase migration. This will involve an initial upgrade to Exchange 2010 or 2013, and secondary upgrade to 2016. It’s a big task, but it’s well worth the effort if you’re determined not to move to the cloud.

Transition to Office 365 and Exchange Online

Moving to the cloud can be daunting, but the rewards for doing so are immense. Microsoft’s cloud-based solution delivers greater functionality and productivity, with flexible pricing plans and a lower overall cost of ownership.

Your business will reduce its physical server footprint, while ensuring it is agile and always has sufficient capacity to meet its needs. You will benefit from regular, automatic updates and new features as they become available.  And, because your data is stored in the cloud, backups are secure and protected from incidents like fire, flood and power outages.

Whether you choose to move to the cloud or upgrade your on-premises infrastructure, the time has come to make a firm decision and start the process immediately. The worst thing you can do is to remain on an unsupported platform and risk serious disruption to your business.

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If you would like some guidance to select the best upgrade path for your organisation, or if you’ve already made a decision and simply require assistance to plan and implement your transition, then contact Bremmar today on today on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au.

By Chad Gowrea, Director - Solutions and Strategy

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