Microsoft Exchange 2010 goes “End of Life”

10 September 2018

14th January 2020 is set to become a key date at Microsoft, with multiple products reaching the end of their extended support phases.

You may have read my recent article about Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2, that are going end of life, but Exchange 2010 is also on the list. And whilst you might think you don’t need to worry about this now, you need to start preparing and put a migration plan in place.

The withdrawal of support for Exchange 2010 is perhaps the most challenging aspect of all the products being retired. Furthermore, it will no longer be packaged with Small Business Server 2008 (SBS), so if you are still using this system, you will need to find a new email solution.

What does ‘end of life’ mean?

The end of extended support means Microsoft will no longer release updates, security patches or fixes, or offer online technical support. In summary, you’ll be on your own if a problem arises! Most importantly, without regular security updates, your network will be exposed to risks such as viruses, spyware, ransomware and other cyber-attacks.

What do you recommend we do?

There are of course several options. You could consider migrating your email to one of the many open-source solutions. This could be a cost-effective solution, but it is likely to add complexity and may not offer the rich list of features that users have become familiar with.

If you decide not to go down the open-source route, then you have two options:

  1. The current version of Microsoft Exchange is 2016. This is a locally hosted solution that is installed on your own servers, just like Exchange 2010. If you have other applications that interface to Exchange, then this might be your only option. It provides many new features that you can discover here. However, depending on your current licencing agreement, you may have to purchase a new licence and upgraded hardware.
     
  2. We often get asked about migrating solutions into the cloud, and email is one of the easiest solutions to migrate. Here you also have two options:
    • Many Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) can supply “Hosted Exchange Solutions”. These work in the same way as your existing Exchange solution yet, instead of the server being hosted in your premises, it is hosted in a secure data centre many miles away. Users connect to it via the internet and are unlikely to notice any difference in performance. ISP’s will have several solutions but typically you have very few upfront costs and are charge monthly or annually by the number of users.
    • Microsoft also provides its own version of Hosted Exchange, more commonly referred to as Office 365. This is also priced ‘by user’ rather than ‘by device’ and means each staff member can use, say, a desktop, laptop and tablet on a single license, so you could save money on licensing costs in the long-term. Like traditional Office software, Microsoft has packaged different applications together including the popular Word, Excel, PowerPoint and, of course, Outlook. However, it is considerably more complex than traditional Office packages as there are multiple versions available to suit different business types, sizes and requirements. It is important to choose the right one for your individual needs. You should also be aware that the basic versions, Office 365 Business (for smaller businesses) and Office 365 ProPlus (for larger organisations), do not include Exchange functionality, just Outlook. Exchange functionality is only provided in the higher-end versions. These are Office 365 Business Premium and Business Essentials for smaller companies and Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3 and E5 for larger businesses.

Are there any other benefits in migrating to Office 365?

Yes. A cloud-based solution will make it easier for your staff to work and collaborate remotely from any location. It is ideal if you have team members who are field-based, travel a lot or work from home, and/or have two or more business premises. You will also benefit from 24/7 technical support from Microsoft.

How easy is it to migrate from Exchange 2010?

Migrating any major back office solution is a significant task. It is not like upgrading a desktop solution where you simply run a new file. It requires planning and involves multiple steps. These include:

  • Assessing your current and future requirements,
  • Selecting the right solution for your needs,
  • Creating a project plan and time-line,
  • Testing the solution in your environment,
  • Migrating your email data across to the new system,
  • Checking everything is working correctly, including backups,
  • Training your staff on the new system,
  • Decommissioning your old Exchange 2010 server,
  • Carrying out any necessary additional IT housekeeping tasks.

Summary

For many businesses, email is a vital tool that must remain highly available. It can form part of your entire business workflow and may function with other systems. It should therefore, not be considered in isolation.

There are many options to consider and this might be a good time to review your entire cloud strategy.

Contact us

The MHA MacIntyre Hudson Technology Advisory Services is helping business prepare for this transformation by ensuring that your IT systems and services are reliable, robust, scalable and secure and ready to embrace the challenges ahead. If you would like to find out how we could help your business, or you have any queries relating to this or any other IT matter, please contact Gavin Davis. Alternatively, send us an online enquiry.