Spring into Action Before End of Life Hits

IT professionals have a lot of work to do before 2020 with the end of life (EOL) of many Microsoft products. You probably know that Windows 7 is coming up on an EOL in January 2020, but getting less attention are the other products that are EOL in 2020 as well. These Microsoft products have “mainstream support” and then will role into an “extended support” phase before reaching EOL. What does this mean? What are your options? It’s time to spring into action!

Microsoft Mainstream Support Vs Extended Support
When referring to mainstream support, Microsoft is actively releasing security updates, bug fixes, design change, feature improvements, warranty claims and more. In general, Microsoft provides mainstream support for a minimum of five years after the product release date. 

After mainstream support expires, the products move into an extended support phase. During extended support, Microsoft stops delivering new feature improvements and design changes and ends complimentary support for that version. However, you can still count on receiving bug fixes and security patching.

After extended support expires, Microsoft no longer provides patches or bug fixes, which leaves the system open to becoming compromised.

Windows 7
Windows 7* (SP1) mainstream support ended January 13th, 2015. Extended support will end January 14th 2020. The Windows operating system that many companies are upgrading to is Windows 10. Windows 10 has had many rounds of feature enhancements, bug fixes and security patches and is a reliable operating system that many users feel comfortable with. 

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2
On January 14th 2020, Windows Server 2008 will reach the end of extended support. Microsoft would like to see the 2008 server family be migrated to Server 2016 (or SQL Server 2017).    

Exchange Server 2010
On January 14th, 2020 Exchange Server 2010 will no longer be supported. If you have not begun your migration from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 or Exchange 2016 (on-premises), now is the time to start your planning.   

Office 2010
Office 2010 will reach end of support on October 12th, 2020. Microsoft recommends upgrading to either Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 as they are the latest versions of office to date. Daniel H. Brown mentions, “A key difference between Office 365 ProPlus and Office 2019 is that Office 365 ProPlus is updated on a regular basis, as often as monthly, with new features. Office 2019 only has the same features that it had when it was released in October 2018.”  

SharePoint Server 2010
SharePoint Server 2010 will reach end of life on October 13th, 2020. There are some options for upgrading your SharePoint environment, but Microsoft would like to see everyone migrating to either SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2016 (on-premises).

Project Server 2010 and Related: Project Portfolio Server 2010, Project 2010 Standard, Project 2010 Professional
Project Server 2010 and the related items above will be reaching EOL on October 13th, 2020. Microsoft recommends the path of Project Online or migrate to Project Server 2019.

Spring into Action
If you have these products and have not started devising a path to upgrade, it’s time to spring into action. The software will continue to run after the EOL date; however, because of vulnerabilities that will inevitably be discovered after EOL, keeping these EOL systems running will allow opportunities for breaches. The list of software above are just examples of the overall products that Microsoft will stop supporting in 2020. There are other software products not mentioned and many upgrade paths to pick from, so it’s going to be a busy year for IT. Even if your company is not running upcoming EOL software, you can use this as a reason to begin looking at your next upgrade path to make sure you’re staying in that sweet spot between stability and bleeding edge.  

*Microsoft will sell Windows 7 Extended Security Updates (ESU) per device and will work with organizations in allowing Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) in Azure, but these topics are out of scope for this blog. Please be aware you should always check the Microsoft Product Lifecycle site for your most updated EOL dates.