2022 Technology Review and Planning for 2023

Joel CaskeyWritten by:

Joel Caskey
Cybersecurity Manager & Partner
NET Xperts LLC


The end of the year is quickly approaching. It feels like just yesterday that we were talking about Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and summer seems like just a few short weeks ago. Now that we are winding down a chilly holiday season and getting ready to enter a brand new year, I felt it would be very cliché to do a review of the key technology planning dates that you may have missed in 2022, as well as some planning dates for milestones in the upcoming 2023. 

As cliché as it seems, I’m going to do it anyway… so let’s get started!

In 2022, there was a couple of key End of Support dates and technology milestones that you are hopefully already aware of. These key points are all based on items that potentially need action if you use the products in question.

VMware vSphere Version 6.x End of Support 

On October 15, 2022, VMware officially ended support for all versions and builds of VMware 6.x, including major versions 6.0, 6.5, and 6.7. VMware vSphere 7.0 is the replacement for all versions of VMware 6.x. It was released in March 2020 and will be supported until April 2025. 

    • VMware vSphere 8.0 was also released in 2022. For those unsure of what this is, VMware vSphere is the operating system that runs a virtual environment with virtual servers (this allows for multiple servers on the same physical server hardware). If you’re unsure whether this affects you, our support team can help provide guidance and a plan to upgrade if needed!

 

The Final Fall of Internet Explorer

After many, many extensions of support dates, Microsoft has finally put the nail in the coffin for Internet Explorer. Although Internet Explorer has not been fully removed yet, it has finally been deemed End of Support as of June 15, 2022. 

  • If you’re still using Internet Explorer for anything, now is the time to move to a more modern browser, such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox (just to name a few popular ones). 
  • If you still have applications that require Internet Explorer, don’t worry – Microsoft Edge does have an Internet Explorer mode that works fairly well. Although it’s not guaranteed to work, this has been a very reliable compromise for functionality and security in those places where using a modern browser just isn’t possible or feasible. 
  • If you’re unsure whether or not this will work for you, it’s always a good idea to consult your software support team to see if this is an acceptable solution, or if a software upgrade is the better option.

 

2023 – Key End of Support Dates

So we’ve talked about 2022 and some of the things that have already passed. Let’s talk about some planning for the future. I want to share with you some key product End of Support dates coming up in 2023, as well as why this is important. First, let’s get the products and dates together. 

Although this is not an all-inclusive list, I did choose the products that would apply to the bulk of the audience here, so there may be other items out there that also need attention, but these are the big ones to remember:

  • Internet Explorer Removal – January/February 2023
    • As I mentioned earlier, Microsoft officially ended support for Internet Explorer 11 on June 15, 2022. At the time of the announcement, they had not yet announced any plans to physically remove Internet Explorer from Microsoft Windows. After all – Internet Explorer has been a part of Windows since the days of Windows XP. Microsoft announced that they are disabling/removing Internet Explorer from the Microsoft Windows Operating Systems with either the January Security-Only Update (releasing on January 10, 2023), or with the February Cumulative Update patch (releasing on February 14, 2023 – a nice Valentine’s Day gift from Microsoft, with love!). That being said, if you don’t already have a plan for migrating off of Internet Explorer, you are tardy to the party my friends. Don’t worry though – our support team can help guide you in the right direction so that a plan can be made before the final retirement date!
  • Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 – October 15, 2023
    • This is an important one to keep in mind. Microsoft is ending extended support for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 in October of the upcoming year. For some of you, this may involve hardware replacements. For others, this may involve doing a server migration to either a newer version of the Operating System or even to the cloud. In any case, if you don’t have a plan for this (or if you don’t know whether you are affected by this), I urge you to talk to our team sooner rather than later. We can help you develop a plan so that you’re not caught out of compliance when October hits.
  • Microsoft Office 2013 – April 11, 2023
    • This is one that I’m sure a lot of folks haven’t thought about – Microsoft Office. When does anyone ever think about upgrading their versions of Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel? Now I know what you’re thinking – “Joel, that’s always at the top of my list! I can’t wait for a reason to upgrade to a new version of Excel! Spreadsheets are my life!” In that case, great news, because if you’re still running Office 2013, you’re due for an upgrade! My suggestion would be to look into, at the very least, upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Office (and here’s a hint – if you’re still on 2013 and it came with your computer, you’re due for a new computer too!). Moving to Microsoft 365 Apps may be a more feasible solution for your organization, depending on your environment. In any case, if you’re on Microsoft Office 2013, it’s time to make a move!

 

So, you may be asking, “Why are these dates important? What does End of Support mean for me?”. The most important thing to keep in mind is that once a software vendor ends support for a product, they will no longer release updates for that product. Most importantly, this includes security updates (it all ties back to security eventually, doesn’t it?). It’s not uncommon for a vulnerability to go unnoticed or unidentified until after a product reaches End of Support status. At that point, there are open vulnerabilities just waiting to be exploited and feasted on by bad actors. Long story short, the longer you run a product after its End of Support date, the more you’re taking a risk of having a software vulnerability be exploited, putting your company and customer data at risk. You may also be violating cyber insurance policy agreements and compliance standards by running software that has been deemed “End of Support” by the manufacturer.

As I had mentioned, this is not an all-inclusive list – it’s just a list of a few key items. We can work with you directly to analyze your network and develop a plan to identify and resolve any past-due or upcoming End of Support items on your network. Reach out to our team – we are here to help!

From all of us at NET Xperts, we wish you and your family a Happy and Safe Holiday Season and a prosperous 2023 to follow!