What does SQL Server 2008 end of life mean for your business?

sql server end of life image

Managing and making sense of large volumes of data is important for businesses, which is why companies have relied on popular database management system Microsoft SQL Server 2008 & 2008 R2 for so long. What’s more, it has robust security features and ensures the integrity of your data even if a hardware failure were to occur.

However, as with all software applications, SQL Server 2008 does come with an expiration date, and it’s approaching fast. On July 9, 2019, Microsoft will no longer support the database management system, which has serious implications for your business.

Why is this important?

Microsoft’s Lifecycle Policy offers at least 10 years of support for SQL Server 2008, after which users will no longer receive technical assistance and security patches. This means Microsoft will no longer fix software vulnerabilities, making it easy for hackers to infiltrate your systems, steal data, and install malware.

To put things into perspective, cyberattack-induced data breaches cost businesses $139 per record. That’s a lot of money, especially if a data breach incident affects your entire database. Successful attacks on your database management system may even lead to performance issues that hamper your company’s productivity and profitability.

Compliance concerns

Utilising unsupported software also risks noncompliance with data privacy regulations. Australian privacy principles, for instance, require companies to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of personal records, and the best way to comply is to make sure software has the latest security patches and updates. If data breaches occur due to poor security practices, your company could be liable for lawsuits and penalties of up to $420,000.

What’s more, the Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme that was established in early 2018 compels companies that experienced a breach to notify the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and affected individuals. This holds your company accountable. Notifying customers that you had a breach because you failed to keep your systems up to date can inflict major reputational damage and can cause customers to take their business elsewhere.

Opportunity cost

What’s potentially costing you more in the long run, however, is the missed opportunity of using more robust editions of SQL Server. The latest edition offer faster, more responsive database performance, advanced analytics and machine learning, database health checks, and stronger encryption. Meanwhile, the dated version is not only vulnerable, but it also fails to give your company a competitive edge.

What should you do?

If you’re a SQL Server 2008 user, there are a few options moving forward:

  • Option #1: Upgrading to SQL Server 2019 is a smart idea for future-proofing your business because it offers enhanced data analytics and security features, but the costs can be expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses. The license, installation, hardware, and ongoing maintenance costs may be feasible for established companies with larger budgets.
  • Option #2: Migrating to Azure SQL Database, Microsoft’s cloud database system, gives you similar features to SQL Server 2019, with the added bonus of built-in machine learning tools that monitor and manage database performance and security. Since it’s a cloud-hosted service, you only pay for the storage and resources you need, allowing you to scale your business with ease.

Once you’ve decided on an option, consult with a top-notch managed services provider (MSP) to plan and prepare for the migration.

However, doing all this in such short notice can be difficult. If you can’t upgrade your SQL server before the end-of-support date, you can pay Microsoft for extended security updates for three more years, provided that you have active Software Assurance or Enterprise Agreement subscription licenses. Alternatively, you can get extended three-year support if you rehost your database in Azure Virtual Machines. Either solution should give you enough time to modernise on your terms.

Time to get moving

Evaluating your options now and developing a plan to modernise before the SQL Server 2008 end-of-life deadline is crucial for avoiding a host of business problems. Database migrations can take anywhere between a few months to a year, depending on how much data you possess and preparation you need. There’s also plenty of technical settings and configurations involved, but this isn’t a problem if you’re partnered with a professional MSP.

As one of the leading Microsoft partners in Australia, Empower IT Solutions has the tools and specialists on staff to ensure your SQL Server migration goes smoothly. We’re also aware that Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will reach end-of-life in January 14, 2020, and we can help you upgrade your on-premise server operating system with ease. Contact us today to modernise your business!