July 14, the date for Windows Server 2003 end of life, has come and gone. The last-minute rush to try to migrate to a new OS before the deadline is over. But there are still a significant number of SMBs that continue to run Windows Server 2003 despite the risks caused by EOL, and these holdouts represent a big opportunity for IT service providers.
In fact, 61 percent of businesses in Spiceworks’ network are still running at least one instance of Server 2003, according to a report released by Spiceworks in March 2015. That adds up to millions of installations in a mix of physical and virtualized environments.
So, why do companies continue to run an obsolete OS that opens them up to security vulnerabilities and violates compliance standards in industries such as health care and finance? There are a number of reasons a business would do this, but here are three of the most common objections you might hear from SMBs:
1. I didn’t know my OS was obsolete
As an IT service provider, you’ve known about Windows Server 2003 end of life for years, but most SMB owners aren’t aware of current IT issues the way you are. They’re so focused on the day-to-day trials and tribulations of running their business that they often miss big picture issues like this. Unless something breaks, IT isn’t on their radar, so you might be surprised how many of your customers and prospects simply aren’t aware what server OS they’re running.
2. I’ll get to it at some point
On the other hand, some business owners know they’re still running Windows Server 2003, but they don’t consider migration to be a priority. There could be a number of factors contributing to this. One is time. Small business owners have many different responsibilities to juggle, so it’s easy to keep putting off things like updating software, which don’t seem as urgent. Budget can be another concern. A small business with limited resources has a long list of things they want to address, but they don’t feel they have enough budget to deal with all of them. Unfortunately, migrating to a new server OS might be low on that list.
3. I can handle it myself
This objection comes from more technically-savvy customers who feel they have the know-how to handle this on their own and would rather keep migration in-house. This could stem from a number of underlying issues, such as legacy applications that are keeping them tied to Windows Server 2003. But the bottom line is that even though they think they can handle it themselves, they haven’t been able to deal with it yet, which leaves the business open to risk.
To learn more about how to handle these objections and use Windows Server 2003 migration conversations as a way to uncover other possible engagements, download our new e-book, How to Turn Windows Server 2003 End of Life into an MSP Opportunity.