The risks associated with legacy technology

Technology can be a double-edged sword. It helps you to run your business better, but it involves continuous updates and development which cost time and money. For many organisations, the requirements and assumptions used to plan and implement an existing IT environment are likely to have changed. Many organisations are now burdened with legacy technologies that put their data at risk, increase operational costs, result in system downtime, and contain multiple security vulnerabilities.

Here are just five of the risks that legacy technology can bring to an organisation.

1. Increasing operational costs and system downtime

When looking to update technologies, one of the biggest concerns most businesses have is how to justify the cost. Although replacing legacy technologies can seem daunting, the true cost of legacy technology far outweighs the investment. Legacy applications cost more to manage and maintain and make your business inefficient and less agile. For example, legacy systems crash more often due to a lack of software updates and vendor support. As a result, they require constant attention from IT, which eats away at resources, pulling IT staff away from other valuable projects. Also, the threat of downtime means that the workforce cannot be productive as a single downed system could affect business operations.

2. Data security vulnerabilities

Legacy technologies are vulnerable to attack from cybercriminals. IBM Security and Ponemon Institute recently released a study reporting that the average cost of a single data breach is now £2.8 million. A single unpatched vulnerability can enable attackers to access all applications, middleware, and databases running on your server. The security of data is essential, and not having access to critical updates puts your data at risk and undermines compliance efforts.

For organisations that are heavily regulated, the cost of outdated technology can be even riskier. Security lapses in outdated technology can result in non-compliance, possible financial penalty, and reputational damage.

3. System incompatibility

Legacy systems are often incompatible with new systems. Many businesses are built from a series of mergers and often manage a variety of incompatible legacy systems inherited from predecessor organisations.

It is essential that software integrates well with the tools and applications you require to run your business. If your legacy system prevents you from using new, advanced capabilities, chances are your competitors are leveraging those capabilities. Using legacy systems mean you run the risk of losing customers and revenue, putting your business at risk.

4. Reduced talent pool

As legacy technology becomes more outdated with many manufacturers no longer supporting systems, fewer IT professionals with the knowledge of those systems are available to assist them. As these application experts retire or leave the business, the costs of the smaller pool of experts in that technology grow.

5. Inability to compete

In the era of cloud technology, legacy technologies can no longer compete. Organisations demand the flexibility for their systems to run in the cloud. The ever-growing costs of data in the age of IoT is an unsustainable cost for physical servers or hardware in on-premises data centres.

The adoption of cloud technology makes it possible to streamline and reduce the cost of operations, management, and maintenance while increasing flexibility in resource utilisation. A centrally managed infrastructure simplifies patches, automatic upgrades, migrations, and app roll outs, and makes it possible to close security gaps quickly. This is imperative for the smallest business to the largest global corporation.

When you consider these risks, it does not make sense to hang on to an outdated system. Businesses require a modern IT environment to manage operations better, reduce costs, and reduce security vulnerabilities or face the prospect of losing relevance and an ability to compete.

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