Guest Column | October 1, 2019

A Window Of Opportunity: How MSPs Should Approach Exchange 2010 End Of Support

By David Mills, BitTitan


Time is running out for organizations relying on Exchange Server 2010.

The end-of-life deadline for this product has been on the minds of managed service providers (MSPs) and IT professionals for a while now. Microsoft originally scheduled to end support on Jan. 14, 2020, though recently extended this deadline to Oct. 13, 2020, “to give Exchange Server 2010 customers more time to complete their migrations.”

Make no mistake, the extension indicates many businesses are behind in upgrading their software. Migration projects require a significant amount of time and planning to successfully complete; businesses can’t afford to be caught off-guard and unprepared to make the necessary adjustments.

Facing an end-of-support scenario can be nerve-racking for clients, but it presents an opportunity for MSPs and IT pros to step in as a trusted resource and propose solutions that will ultimately create new business. Revisiting your client base to make sure their workplace systems are updated, secure and compliant is beneficial for both IT pros and their clients.

The Dangers Of Not Upgrading

Before exploring viable upgrade options for customers, it’s important these organizations know the repercussions they face if they fail to make the necessary changes.

Microsoft provides a significant amount of support with security, updates and bug fixes. After its end-of-support deadline passes, businesses still relying on Exchange 2010 will no longer receive support with technical issues that arise. They won’t receive assistance with any bug fixes or security patches for vulnerabilities that are discovered, increasing the risk of malicious cyberattacks. Time zone updates will no longer be provided. Finally, businesses will face an increased risk of falling out of compliance, as employing outdated software can lead to legality issues depending on the compliance standards of their specific industry.

The best way to deal with these issues is to address them before they can occur. There are several routes businesses can take with the assistance of their managed service provider to ensure these problems don’t happen.

A Cloud Transition To Office 365

One of the most reliable upgrades a business can implement is a cloud transition to Exchange Online/Office 365, which is a course of action often pushed by Microsoft. This option ensures that businesses receive regular updates and the latest feature enhancements that come with being hosted in the cloud. This upgrade also can be a relatively quick process for some businesses.

Be warned: Businesses that pursue this route will be subject to price increases from Microsoft. But they’ll also receive a bevy of new products, including the latest version of the Microsoft Office suite, SharePoint and Teams.

Staying On-Prem With Exchange 2016/2019

While the cloud has much to offer, not all businesses are ready for a full move to cloud technologies. In this case, the best option is to upgrade to either Exchange 2016 or 2019. This upgrade guarantees support beyond the Exchange 2010 end-of-life date while providing hands-on email and datacenter control that comes with utilizing on-prem hardware.

However, for businesses relying on Exchange 2010, moving data to Exchange 2019 requires a multi-hop migration to Exchange 2013 or 2016 first. Employing a third-party tool – such as BitTitan’s MigrationWiz – enables businesses to skip this step and migrate data directly to Exchange 2019. It’s also worth noting that Unified Messaging, a popular Exchange 2010 and 2016 feature that allows user inboxes to receive direct email, voicemail and faxes, is no longer available in Exchange 2019.

A Comprehensive Upgrade

While the Exchange 2010 end-of-support deadline highlights a need for customer upgrades in 2020, the opportunity extends beyond Exchange 2010, as Microsoft is discontinuing support for several products during that time.

On Jan. 14, 2020, support for Windows 7 will expire, and usage for this product still hovers around 30 percent, according to a market-share report from Net Applications. Then on Oct. 13, 2020, support for Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 will discontinue. MSPs and IT pros can check in with clients still using this software and propose to facilitate the necessary upgrades with migration bundles. They also can investigate implementing a digital overhaul to make sure a client’s workplace plan is up to date for years to come.

Knowing that a trusted product’s life cycle end is on the horizon can be distressing. The good news is that MSPs and IT pros are well-positioned to offer valuable advice and assistance for necessary upgrades. There are plenty of viable courses of action for businesses to take. Change is never easy. Embrace it and do not fear it as you embark on the path to continued business growth.

About The Author

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.