In just a little over a month, Windows will end its support for Windows Server 2003.

If your server is one of the millions still running the platform, it’s time to abandon ship.

Why does this matter? Because if any new vulnerabilities or exploits are discovered for the platform, big brother Windows is not going to release any patches to fix it.

Over time, your network is going to end up having more holes in it than a block of swiss cheese, granting hackers an easy entry into your network.

The official Windows Server 2003 website strongly advises migrating to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure or Office 365. Aside from being way more secure, additional benefits like improved performance reduced maintenance requirements, and increased agility and speed of response to the business can be reaped as well.

So let’s say you migrate your server, and do everything Microsoft tells you to. Great job!

Except, your job isn’t done. Not even close.

Responsive patching is important but it’s not enough to keep your system airtight.

The latest Verizon Data Breach Incident Report found that in a majority of attacks exploiting known vulnerabilities, the patch had been available for months prior to the breach.

Worse still, hackers are still exploiting vulnerabilities that were discovered as far back as 1999, because forward-looking data security personnel are not checking whether past exploits have been patched.

Instead of performing “fire drill” type patching, develop a proper patch deployment strategy, which helps you make sure that all vulnerabilities, not just the flavor-of-the-months like Heartbleed and Shellshock, are properly patched.

An ideal patch deployment strategy should include a detailed listing of which systems require constant patching, who is responsible for deploying the patches, and a proper schedule and priority list of patches to implement, as well as testing dates.

In addition, you should be patched against all the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE), which are the most frequently used exploits by hackers.

One of the greatest vulnerabilities a security system could have is a person at the helm who wrongly believes that his system is secure. Whether the exploit is brand new or over 15 years old, hackers care not; if there’s a way into your system, they’re going to take it.

So while bright and shiny new exploits may seem sensational and patch-worthy, never forget to look back on old exploits, because hackers certainly won’t.

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