5 Risks of Running an Unsupported SharePoint Environment
I’m sure you’ve heard many times from IT departments or clients that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” And we’ve survived under those conditions for a very long time.
…Or have we?
Let’s talk about something we all understand: Car trouble. When’s the last time you stood next to the road with a flat tire or an engine that’s overheated? It’s no fun; and believe me, the cost of the repair is not the actual expense. It’s the time lost during the breakdown.
I’ve spent most of my life owning cars after they’re paid off because I thought it to be cheaper. That is, until the last time I had a breakdown and had to rent a car for 6 weeks. Now, I only purchase new cars that include a Service Plan and Warranty.
When it comes to cars, I don’t make “Penny wise, pound foolish” decisions anymore. This brings me to unsupported SharePoint environments. (See what I did there?)
Nothing is meant to last forever, and the same goes for SharePoint.
You’ll be surprised when you see how many companies are still running SharePoint 2001, 2003, 2007, and 2013. Companies typically migrate to new versions three years after its release, and this is due to the need for a stable environment. And of course, the unspoken truth is that it’s about getting the most out of their current environment.
Microsoft Lifecycle Policy
“The Microsoft Lifecycle Policy gives you consistent and predictable guidelines for the availability of support throughout the life of a product.”
On the Microsoft Product Lifecycle site, you’ll be able to search for your product and download lifecycle information. Below, you’ll find the Product Lifecyle details for SharePoint related products.
An important date to take note of is that SharePoint 2013’s end of Mainstream Support date was April 10, 2018.
Lifecycle Start Date
Mainstream Support End Date
Extended Support End Date
Service Pack Support End Date
Access Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites
Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Service Pack 1
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Service Pack 1
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Service Pack 2
Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Service Pack 3
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001
Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001 Service Pack 2
Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001 Service Pack 3
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 1
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 2
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 Service Pack 3
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 1
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Service Pack 2
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1
PerformancePoint Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
SharePoint Server 2013
SharePoint Server 2016
Sybari Antigen 8.0 for Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server
Before end of Mainstream Support, you can expect Microsoft to release Public Update Builds (PU) which contains the latest functionality, performance, and stability improvements for the product. Once in extended support (for example, SharePoint 2013 as from April 11, 2018), Microsoft will only update the minimum supported build.
Risks of running unsupported environments
The five main risks I’ll highlight are:
Cost of support
If your product is not supported anymore, you’ll have to pay for calls logged with Microsoft. And it’s not just the cost of the ticket you must consider, downtime and the general impact on productivity and service becomes the hidden cost.
Risk of data loss without recovery solutions
This has two sides to consider. If your SharePoint environment is no longer supported, the loss of data and possibility to recover this data will be affected, seeing as the data recovery procedures might not be supported anymore.
Also, when using third-party products for recovery on a platform that is no longer supported, inevitability deems the third-party product ‘unsupported’ as well.
Exposure to security gaps
Supported environments receive regular security updates and bug fixes. Without this, your data is exposed, which directly influences your compliance status as well.
Loss of user productivity
This is where I get emotional around outdated environments. Users suffer when companies try to save money by not upgrading or updating their software (and hardware).
An example would be me walking into companies where users are still working on Windows Vista with Office 2007. Employees are our most valuable assets and, in the end, any loss of productivity costs us more than we can imagine.
Take a look at our “Unofficial SharePoint Feature Comparison Chart” to see how much your users are actually losing out on.
When users are not empowered, they will find ways to achieve what they need. Workarounds tend to be costly and create ‘unsupported’ environments in themselves. Being on the latest versions exposes the company to the latest technology and features, which breeds productivity.
Announcements around Microsoft Product Support
The best defense is proactivity. Stay up to date with the latest news and versions and in the loop.
Follow the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy site and keep your eye on the announcements made on the products you use. Below you’ll find some of the latest announcements from Microsoft:
- Products Reaching End of Support for 2019
- Support ending for System Center Configuration Manager 2007 and Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 (April 2, 2018)
- Office 2019 On- Premises Release Details (February 1, 2018)
- Windows 10 Client and Windows Server Semi-Annual Channel Lifecycle Policy Update (February 1, 2018)
- Windows 10, version 1607 Semi-Annual Channel end of servicing (February 1, 2018)
- Visio Services in SharePoint Online to be Discontinued (September 30th, 2018)
- Products Reaching End of Support for 2018
- Discontinuation of Service - Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (August 18, 2017)
- Previous announcements
Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.