The gravestone reads, “Here lies SharePoint 2010 – it had a good run that came to an end on October 13, 2020.”
As of October 14, Microsoft will no longer deliver updates, security patches, or any other official support for this antiquated edition of its collaboration software. Much has been written and said about the SharePoint 2010 end game, as well as about potential replacement alternatives and migration strategies CIOs should consider. However, many IT decisions and timelines related to the post-SP10 era were put in place before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some enterprises now find themselves playing catch-up on their SP10 migration projects because they’ve had to re-prioritize IT resources and budgets to support their ever-growing remote workforce.
This accelerated digital transformation environment has created a new set of challenges, priorities, and requirements for enterprises facing a narrowing window for determining their SharePoint 2010 replacement and migration strategy.
How can companies best manage their SharePoint 2010 end-of-life challenge, as well as future proof themselves in a manner that does not put them in the same predicament in a few years? To answer this question, let’s look at two SP10 EOL scenarios many enterprises now find themselves in.
Scenario #1: We’ll Need to Use SP10 for a While after Microsoft Discontinues Support
While many companies had plans to make the move away from SP10 ahead of its sunset date, migration efforts were either discontinued entirely or slowed to the point where it’s now impossible to make the transition by mid-October because of other more urgent IT priorities related to the global pandemic. Ultimately, some organizations will need to continue to use SP10 for an undetermined amount of time until they can get back on track with their migration plan.
Without Microsoft providing security patches and related support, hackers and cybercriminals will undoubtedly be targeting enterprises with active SP10 implementations. If your company finds itself in this position, mitigating the risk of hacks and security breaches must become the priority. In this scenario, blocking all access to your SP10 servers from outside of the company network and making sure it is only used as an internal system until the long-term IT solution is implemented is the safest route.
Scenario #2: We Upgraded to SharePoint 2013
Organizations that have upgraded from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013 can take a deep breath and relax … at least for a little while.
However, you don’t have to be a Gartner analyst or a CIO to realize that you’ll likely be dealing with this same issue a few years from now when Microsoft ends its support for SP13. The time is now for a modern, flexible, and cloud-native approach that will future proof your enterprise from large scale migration initiatives in the future.
Modernizing Today = Fewer IT, Collaboration, and Information Management Headaches Tomorrow
Both scenarios described above leave organizations in a precarious situation. The first one is a ticking time bomb, with the countdown clock growing louder as the October sunset date approaches. For companies that recently upgraded to SP13, many of them were likely in a position (due to COVID-19) where they had to rush implementation just to get up and running, and may have had to sidestep some compliance, security, and governance provisions just to be able to make the transition before the sun sets on SP10 in October.
Neither scenario future proofs an enterprise from a reoccurring IT dilemma reminiscent of the Groundhog Day movie where Bill Murray experiences the same day over and over again. A more forward-thinking approach to IT modernization is in order.
The path to IT modernization is often one of trial-and-error, but the first step must be with the systems that store business-critical content and data. Companies that fail to lay this foundation often find the digital transformation house crashing down around them.
Modern content services platforms can work in harmony with existing legacy systems (including all flavors of SharePoint) until the time is right for them to be retired. This provides a low-risk approach to modernization that allows enterprises to migrate content and data from old systems at a pace and manner that best fits their needs – versus the often painful “rip-and-replace” alternative.
While each organization has its own unique content management and collaboration needs and requirements, it behooves all companies to consider solutions and platforms that not only help them bring their IT stack up to date, but that also have the flexibility to adapt as needs, requirements, and technologies change and evolve.