While spring may seem far away for those who just finished shoveling the driveway after yet another snowfall, April will be here sooner than we think. On Apr. 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer support Exchange 2003, its decade-old email software continues to be used by more than 66 million people around the world.
When this April deadline comes, Microsoft will no longer release patches to address security issues with Exchange 2003, leaving it open to vulnerabilities that could sink unprepared small businesses.
According to Intermedia president Michael Gold, while the issue is straightforward, many small businesses and organizations have yet to make the switch to a newer email software.
“The reason why it is a big issue is there are over 66 million users still on this old software,” Gold says. “They’re going to be completely vulnerable without the support. Plus, the world has changed: Exchange 2003 is from the pre-mobile, pre-cloud era and the last couple versions of Exchange enable so much more feature and functionality, security and so on. With the mobile workforce and Exchange being so important it’s just a lot different.”
According to Gold, there are 12 million Exchange 2003 mailboxes in North America, and the opportunity (and challenge) for service providers, including Intermedia who provides a hosted Exchange service among other “Office in the Cloud” services, is to help these businesses move to something better.
“Why do people have old couches in their house? It works, you can sit on your couch even if it is old and ugly and faded. Exchange 2003 has worked for them, they don’t know any better and so changing takes effort,” Gold says, referring to small businesses or organizations that continue to use Exchange 2003. “They may remember when they first installed Exchange 2003. They had to buy hardware, they had to buy storage, if they’re a small business they probably had to get help from somebody. It’s installed in the closet in their office or in their data center but there was work involved and there was an expense involved. Now they’re milking that expense, but they can’t keep doing that anymore because unlike that old couch in this case they are exposing their business to some security issues.”
Gold says that Intermedia will move customers with an on-premise Exchange 2003 mailbox to its cloud Exchange platform at no charge.
“We have tools that make it a very painless process and we have an approach that helps them quickly use all of the new features and functionality so that there is connectivity to their smartphone so they can manage it remotely and more,” Gold says.
Intermedia has a partner channel of nearly 14,000 VARs, MSPs and IT firms. Its partners are able to white-label its services, and are currently offering Exchange 2010 and the latest version, Exchange 2013.
Intermedia acquired cloud communications firm Telanetix last year, adding cloud voice and hosted PBX services for SMBs.