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What to know about SharePoint 2019's end of life

As SharePoint 2019 approaches its end of life, users can expect reduced support. Migration to newer platforms like SharePoint Online can offer ongoing security and functionality.

In 2026, Microsoft will cease all support, including feature updates and security patches, for SharePoint Server 2019. To avoid security risks, users must plan content migrations to more modern systems.

Technology vendors like Microsoft often set end-of-life dates for older products to encourage adoption of their latest offerings and avoid the security risks of outdated architectures and code. After these dates pass, vendors reduce or terminate support for the older tools, leaving people who still use them more vulnerable to cyberattacks and performance issues. Other risks include compliance failures and increased maintenance costs.

SharePoint 2019 entered the first phase of its end of life in January 2024, and Microsoft plans to cease all updates in July 2026. Learn what end of life means for SharePoint 2019 and explore the consequences of using the platform past its end-of-life date.

What is SharePoint 2019?

SharePoint 2019, an on-premises version of Microsoft's enterprise content management platform, lets organizations manage content, knowledge and teamwork applications. It helps users quickly create and find information, and seamlessly collaborate with colleagues.

Unlike its cloud-based sibling, SharePoint Online, SharePoint 2019 runs on a company's own servers -- not in the Microsoft cloud -- giving organizations full control over the environments and data.

What does end of life mean?

The term end of life refers to the date in a software product's lifecycle when the developer no longer offers updates. For SharePoint 2019, this process occurs in two stages:

  1. The end of mainstream support. Mainstream support for SharePoint 2019 ended on January 9, 2024. Microsoft no longer offers its standard product feature updates, bug fixes or security updates.
  2. The end of extended support. This support level covers only critical security updates and essential patches. Microsoft plans to end extended support on July 14, 2026.

Content managers and IT professionals must understand these phases so they can prepare for migration to SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, SharePoint Online or an alternate content management system (CMS). Now that SharePoint 2019 has entered the extended support period, security and features risks have increased substantially for users and admins.

Risks of using SharePoint past its end of life

Continuing to use SharePoint 2019 beyond its end-of-life dates poses various types of risks. SharePoint administrators should address these risks to protect their users and enterprise.

1. Security risks

The lack of regular security updates makes SharePoint Server increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can lead to data destruction, exposure to ransomware and breaches of sensitive corporate, customer, partner and employee data. For instance, hackers can exploit known and previously unknown vulnerabilities the vendor no longer patches.

Throughout the extended support period, Microsoft will continue to address the most critical security issues. Yet, this support may be insufficient, as the number of users will decrease, leading to a decline in community-driven discovery of vulnerabilities.

A chart that shows various types of cyberattacks.
After SharePoint 2019's end of life, the platform will be more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

2. Compliance risks

Organizations in regulated industries can face compliance violations if they use unsupported software. These violations can result in hefty fines, damage to a brand's reputation and loss of revenue. For example, organizations with CMSes that are not in compliance with regulatory standards can lose key certifications, such as ISO certification, which can negatively affect current or future contracts.

3. Reduced functionality and compatibility

Over time, integration with evolving technologies and products can degrade, leading to reduced functionality. As other software products evolve, compatibility issues typically arise with new technologies, like generative AI, preventing SharePoint from interacting effectively with modern systems. Therefore, running SharePoint 2019 past its end-of-life date can cause organizations and their users to lose the productivity benefits of newer systems.

4. Increased maintenance costs

As SharePoint 2019 ages, users' environments require more resources and effort to maintain. Problems the vendor once addressed may require custom coding, configuration and patching from internal IT teams. These homegrown workarounds and patches can lead to increased operational costs, risk of breakage and more security issues.

Key takeaways

The end of life for SharePoint 2019 is a significant event that requires much planning. Organizations that understand the risks of using SharePoint beyond its end of life and plan for a migration to a supported platform can ensure continuity, security and efficiency.

Transitioning to newer versions of the platform, such as SharePoint Server Subscription Edition or SharePoint Online, offers enhanced features and improved security. The latest versions also align more with modern cloud content management and business collaboration strategies, helping organizations remain competitive. Additionally, this end of life presents organizations with the opportunity to evaluate competitive offerings which may align better with their feature and functionality requirements.

Jordan Jones is a writer versed in enterprise content management, component content management, web content management and video-on-demand technologies.

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