Pre-Sales Technical Consultant – Ian Sanderson

Just in case you missed it, Ian Sanderson gives his take on End of Life Support products that we all know and love.

You may be aware of some of the VMware technologies which are going end of life at the start of 2020:

  • vSphere 6.0
  • Horizon View 6.x
  • Some older versions of SRM

So, how do you maintain a supported solution in your environment? The simple answer for this is. If you are running any of these older software versions, upgrade to the latest versions. However, we want to talk to you about other considerations you might not have thought about.

With Microsoft, it’s the same idea, these are all going end of life in January 2020;

  • Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7
  • Exchange 2010
  • Office 2010
  • Small Business Server 2011 which incorporates Server 2008 and Exchange 2010

There are several options here, like we say you can upgrade these. However again, there are other points to consider.

Let’s look at Office 365. Office 365 is on a lot of IT managers and IT directors’ radars. It’s making waves into enterprise and the smaller customers and is a compelling option especially when you are looking at licence renewal. You might be buying Open Value Subscriptions for licencing; however, Microsoft really want you to move to Office 365. That gives you Exchange online and Office applications to name a few. It also means you can decommission some on premises servers like Exchange and SharePoint. In doing so, it’s taking care of a lot of the potential problems that are on the list of software that is going End of Life. Again, it’s not the right option for everyone, but it is worth considering.

So, what does this mean for you?

It means no vendor support on the products which we have mentioned and no security updates or software updates, but it doesn’t mean these solutions are going to stop working on those dates when they go End of Support. There are still organisations running XP!

However, there are some considerations if you are not upgrading these older versions of software.

The first one is if you have a requirement to comply with accreditations such as Cyber Essentials Plus. If you aren’t running a version of software receiving the latest security update, that’s going to be a fail. With Cyber Essentials Plus, you must demonstrate that your security posture meets the requirements of the Cyber Essentials plus assessment.

We won’t go into too much detail on this post, however, on the networking front you need to look at Firewalls. If you have client VPN connections, there are solutions to tighten security from the likes of Gemalto to allow Two Factor Authentication to ensure that you are hardening your layers of defence.

On the application layer, Exchange, Office, Horizon, if you keep those up to date then you will be helping to minimize risk, however there are products to wrap around that as well which will help with your defence in depth strategy. Third party patching solutions from Ivanti which not only patch the operating system but also patches other third-party applications such as Chrome and the WebEx Plugin. Or you have Trend End Point manager as well to help protect those applications.

Another solution from Trend Micro is Virtual Patching. It relies on the global defence network to analyse emerging threats that are out there like the WannaCry’s, Petya’s or any other ransomware attack. With this information it will create a virtual patch to mitigate the threat and minimise risk of an emerging threat infiltrating the application layer of your environment until you have time to implement a hot fix from the vendor to permanently resolve the issue.

Before you can even think about a defence in depth strategy or upgrading those systems which might be End of Life, it is a good idea to assess your estate to establish a baseline of what it is you have. As we mentioned earlier on Horizon View, if you just click upgrade it might have a major impact on the rest of the environment. Once you have assessed, you have a few different options and you can formulate an upgrade or migration plan, or you can do nothing and accept the risks.

How can TruStack help?

It can be hard enough finding time to run business as usual, never mind picking up additional projects. We can assess your environment to find out what you have and identify what is at risk. This includes the outer perimeter of your network, all the way to the centre where the data lives. Based on our findings we would then compile a report on what we believe you should focus your attention on, what’s End of Life and what to upgrade.

We can also proactively monitor the environment, identify problems before and as they occur and even patch and upgrade those systems basis to minimise risk. If you would prefer someone else to look after your environment entirely then we offer a full managed service where all of this would be taken care of you.