A New Year always brings a lot of new opportunities, but sometimes it also signals that it is time to let go of things from the past. One of the things we will all have to let go of soon is SharePoint 2013.
Extended Support for SharePoint 2013 Ends April 11, 2023.
To be clear, this is the END of support. Unless you are going to try to support everything on your own, SharePoint 2013 is no longer a suitable option for your intranet or internet workloads. You will get no support from Microsoft after April, no patches, no updates, nothing. This is for SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Foundation 2013. There is no “free” Foundation level anymore, just to remind you.
If your organization is still using SharePoint 2013, I’m hoping this news comes as no surprise. Mainstream support ended way back in April of 2018. That is almost 4 years since there have been any new features in SharePoint 2013, patches have been limited to important and critical security fixes. It’s time for a change, and in this series, we will explore your options for moving your content and functionality to something more supported, and hopefully, more functional for your needs.
So, What Should We Do?
SharePoint 2013 was designed for two major purposes (or three, depending on how you count them). For this discussion, I am counting Intranets and Extranets as one major function of SharePoint. Intranets are private networks or services that are used for an organization to collaborate and manage work documents. In the simplest form, Extranets are intended to extend that sharing and collaboration with partners and vendors in your projects. They typically still leave you with control of who accesses your content and what they can do. This is different from an Internet site because the content is still tightly controlled and not easily discoverable to the internet at large.
The other (or third) purpose that SharePoint 2013 often serves is that of an Internet web platform. We have all used the internet; sites are meant to be discoverable, and users are often anonymous and require very little trusted authentication. SharePoint 2013 was an extremely capable and customizable platform for creating internet-facing websites. Some airlines, the State of Western Australia, and some major car manufacturers (to name a few) have all made good use of some edition of SharePoint as an internet platform for some very large and interactive websites.
If your organization is using SharePoint as an Intranet or Extranet platform, the obvious path forward is SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365. There may be a few situations where the latest “on-premises” solution SharePoint Subscription Edition will be the best method for a customer to move forward, but that is likely to only apply to customers with very specific needs and willingness to dedicate significant resources to upkeep.
If your use for SharePoint 2013 has been as an Internet platform, SharePoint Online is NOT an option. If you really want to stay with a SharePoint based solution, on-premises or hosted SharePoint (2019 or SharePoint Subscription Edition) is your only option.
Just in case the idea of continuing on an unsupported platform doesn’t seem like a big deal, remember what that means from a business perspective. No critical security fixes mean that over time your security will get worse and worse, the underlying database servers holding your data, the actual operating system upon which the entire system runs, all are soon reaching end of life (Windows server 2012r2 is unsupported after October 10, 2023, and SQL server 2014 will reach end of life in June of 2024). It is like driving a car they don’t make parts for anymore, even tires. It is for museums and demonstrations only. Driving a Model-T on a modern highway is a bad idea.
How do you go about deciding where to go from here? Stick around for my next write-up, “Migrating SharePoint 2013 to a modern version of SharePoint: Is There an Easy Way?” What do you think the answer will be? We still have lots to talk through and I hope you are there for it.
Ready to begin your migration planning? Pait Group would love to help you!