IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Planning for Exchange 2010 End of Support: How MSPs Can Create New Business from a Looming Deadline

By David Mills

The lifecycle end for Exchange 2010 is within sight—and MSPs should take note.

Microsoft recently extended the end-of-support deadline for Exchange 2010 , which was originally scheduled for January 2020, to October 2020. This gives organizations still relying on this software an additional nine months to upgrade.

While this may come as reassuring news, don’t be fooled. Migrating older on-premises systems requires a significant amount of time to plan and complete. Factors such as troubleshooting, deployment, and configuration must be considered. Don’t wait until the last minute—every moment counts, and Microsoft won’t extend this deadline again.

The implications for those relying on outdated software beyond the end-of-support deadline are many, and include:

  • No more technical assistance from Microsoft regarding documentation, phone support, or other general troubleshooting.
  • No more updates for security patches or bug fixes to protect users and data within Exchange 2010, increasing the risk for cyberattacks, ransomware, and other unauthorized computer access.
  • Compliance issues for businesses running outdated software, which pose legal issues for companies in some regulated industries.

No organization wants to be caught off-guard and left vulnerable. For MSPs, the extended deadline offers additional time to revisit their list of clients and check in with customers who need to upgrade. Microsoft’s extended deadline indicates there are still many businesses relying on Exchange 2010, meaning there’s a bounty of business to be had for MSPs and IT professionals to facilitate migrations. Below, we explore the three most suitable upgrade options for customers still using Exchange 2010. Now is the time to act, as it can lead to new business before the end of the year.

Making a Leap to the Cloud
The first route organizations can take—and likely the one preferred by Microsoft—is an upgrade to Exchange Online/Office 365. This option offers an array of benefits, including access to the latest version of Exchange, the Microsoft Office suite, and cloud services that don’t require on-prem hardware and ensure streamlined adoption of the latest updates across your company.

Of course, there are also disadvantages. Clients who are fearful of vendor lock-in may blanch at being liable to price hikes from Microsoft, which have happened in the past. Still, while fee increases aren’t ideal, the features and functionalities offered by this option are substantial and worth considering.

Keeping Data On-Prem
Many businesses still use on-prem hardware, for a variety of reasons. It can provide more control over email data, it can offer substantial backup and recovery options, and depending on the size of the company, the operational expense may be reasonable.

For businesses that still require on-prem hardware, which is often the case for organizations employing Exchange 2010, the preferred option will be upgrading to Exchange 2016/2019.

Taking this route keeps businesses protected beyond the end-of-support deadline. However, successfully migrating from Exchange 2010 to Exchange 2019 normally requires a “double-hop” migration to Exchange 2013 or 2016 in between. Employing a third-party migration tool can accelerate this process by allowing direct data migration to Exchange 2019 instead.

Exploring a Comprehensive Digital Upgrade
The opportunity for digital transformation extends beyond Exchange 2010, as it isn’t the only Microsoft product that will see its lifecycle end in 2020. Support for Windows 7 remains set to expire on January 14, 2020, while support for SharePoint 2010 will end on October 13, 2020. MSPs and IT professionals can perform two migrations at once for customers using both systems, or explore an even broader, modernized workplace plan. The migration options are similar, and MSPs can delve into the finer details about migrating an on-prem instance or fully transitioning to the cloud with their clients.

Organizations relying on Exchange 2010 may be hesitant to change their tried and true practices and adopt a new workplace system. But the simple truth is by not adapting with new technologies they’re missing out on a host of ways to optimize workflows and enhance business operations. It is critical for MSPs and IT pros to provide their expertise to clients and recommend necessary upgrades. Doing so is not only good business for MSPs and customers alike, it will also lead to continued growth.

David Mills is director of product management at BitTitan, driving product strategy, defining product roadmaps, and ensuring customer success. David is an experienced product management leader with more than two decades of industry experience. Prior to BitTitan, he worked as a principal consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a product manager at Microsoft, and director of product management at Avanade. His areas of expertise include product planning, cloud infrastructure and applications, and marketing communication.

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