If you are still running SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, then it's essential for you to know that Windows will stop providing extended support as of July 9, 2019. For the companies that miss the deadline, they will be facing severe security and data loss risks, among others.
Once the deadline has passed, Windows will no longer provide any further security updates, leaving your systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It's also important to know that these attacks are becoming ever more sophisticated with every passing day and by not having access to these regular updates, you will be at high risk of data loss, ransomware, malware, and other similar issues.
Also, you may have to deal with a sharp drop in customers as a result of your systems being out-of-date. Statistics indicate that over 20% of businesses lose customers as a direct result of security attacks, while a further 30% will experience a loss of revenue because of it.
It will affect your company's reputation. If you are a victim to data loss, your company will be held accountable to your shareholders, investors, customers, and the general public, which will brand your organization as one that's not to be trusted with sensitive information. It is particularly important for companies operating in the financial and healthcare industries.
Lastly, operating on outdated systems will also mean that you could be in breach of various compliance requirements such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Running on these systems past July 9, 2019, will draw maintenance costs in terms of legacy servers, firewalls, intrusion systems, and other similar tools.
How To Avoid these SQL Server End of Life Risks
What you need to do in this situation is to move your SQL Server 2008, and 2008 R2 deployments to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance. It will involve no application code changes and an almost nonexistent downtime. It is a fully managed database-as-a-service, which makes use of the best service-level agreements (SLAs) and which doesn't require any future upgrades.
You can also use your existing licenses as well as the Azure Hybrid Benefit to save when migrating to either the Azure Virtual Machines or to Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.
If this migration is not possible for the time being, say if you have a piece of software installed on the server which can only work on the 2008 version, then Microsoft is offering its paid Extended Security Updates option. It will be made available for the following three years after the deadline to all customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA, EAS or SCE) who purchased SQL Server with active Software Assurance or as part of a subscription.
Nevertheless, this option comes at a quite considerable cost - somewhere around 75% of the price of a fully licensed version of SQL Server. Do keep in mind, however, that this option can be purchased for only those servers that need them. Additionally, the updates will be extended annually, meaning that you can gradually reduce these costs by proceeding with the migration.
The best way to avoid the risks associated with the SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 end-of-life is by upgrading your systems to the latest versions. Together with Managed Solution, you will be able to see this happen in no time.