More than 100 Microsoft products will reach end of support in 2020, with dozens of others moving to Extended Support. For products reaching end of support, customers face a decision to either upgrade or take risks. In this bulletin, we review the list of products that will be sunset in 2020 and some factors Microsoft enterprise customers should consider as they prepare for these events.
Each year Microsoft announces products that will reach end of support. Like 2019, 2020 will be a busy year. The list of affected products is long and includes enterprise products like Windows 2010, Office 2010 and Windows Server 2008 (including R2). When the majority of these products reach end of support, no new security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates will be issued.
Here is a current list of Microsoft products that will reach end of support in 2020:
Microsoft is also moving several products to Extended Support in 2020. Per Microsoft’s definition: “Extended Support lasts for a minimum of 5 years and includes security updates at no cost, and paid non-security updates and support. Additionally, Microsoft will not accept requests for design changes or new features during the Extended Support phase.”
PREPARING FOR END OF SUPPORT
Microsoft customers have limited options when a product reaches end of support – upgrade to the latest cloud or on-premise version of that product, remain on the existing version and absorb the business risk, or (if eligible) enroll in Microsoft’s Extended Security Update Program.
As customers navigate this decision, they should ask the following questions:
Remember, Microsoft is highly motivated to move customers to the newest versions of their offerings, particularly those that are cloud-based. In many cases, the deal window is open for customers that are ready to make the move. But customer readiness is key and in many cases there are technical environment factors that add cost, complexity and risk to the equation.
If an application or business process stops working (because, for example, changes to the underlying operating system cause an unsupported Microsoft technology to fail), what is the impact on the business? Do the unsupported technologies have information security implications? Industry data suggests the average cost of a security breach for U.S companies is approaching $10M. This doesn’t take into account the impact on company/brand reputation and shareholder value. Customers that choose to remain on unsupported offerings could find themselves vulnerable to security flaws that are no longer Microsoft’s responsibility to identify and fix.
Extended support is available for some offerings, but at a price. Often the dollars spent towards extended support could make a sizeable dent in the cost to migrate to a newer version.
It’s a rudimentary question, but an important one as it uncovers bigger issues related to the alignment between the customer’s IT roadmap and Microsoft’s. When faced with this question many companies find that they don’t have a clear answer, and it is the catalyst for a broader analysis of technical strategy.
It’s important to understand the fine print governing end of support for Microsoft products. Like most things Microsoft, cost optimized navigation of the changes requires expert clarification of contractual terms, well-planned alignment of the customer’s IT roadmap with Microsoft’s roadmap, and insight into Microsoft’s motivations and business objectives.