According to the recent Riverbed Technology survey of 1,000 IT leaders from across the world, 97 percent say legacy technology is holding them back. Even in the digital business era, legacy applications are a reality for most organizations from small and medium-sized businesses to enterprises. The reality is that those businesses that have not reached the tipping point where they can take advantage of the latest technologies are facing numerous risks every day. Here are just five of the most prevalent risks that dated technology can bring to businesses.
#1: Increasing Operational Costs and System Downtime
Although businesses may be hesitant to make the investments in new technology, the true cost of legacy technology far outweighs the investment. Because legacy applications cost more to run and maintain, they make the business highly inefficient in terms of OPEX.
Moreover, these systems crash often and require constant attention from the IT department, eating away at employee resources. That constant attention pulls IT personnel away from projects that increase business opportunities and operational efficiency.
Because they suffer a higher failure rate, these technologies require tracking down increasingly rare replacement parts that manufacturers may have stopped supplying. In addition, the constant threat of downtime means that the workforce cannot be productive and the customer base will suffer as even a single downed system ripples throughout the operation.
#2: Security Vulnerabilities
Legacy technologies are extremely vulnerable to attack from cyber criminals. With the latest studies reporting that the average cost of a single data breach is now $3.6 million, with businesses facing a one-in-four chance, the outcomes could cripple them permanently.
Because many of these outdated systems are no longer supported by the manufacturer, a single unpatched vulnerability can enable attackers to access all applications, middleware, and databases running on the server platform. Plus, without modern backup and disaster recovery solutions and other security solutions and services, the business will never be able to properly safeguard its data today and tomorrow.
For businesses operating under stringent regulatory compliance requirements, the cost of outdated technology can compound those serious repercussions. Compliance standards, like HIPAA, PCI, and SOX, require that your technology be supported. Not only are audits difficult and costly to conduct in environments with legacy technology, but a breach sets the business up for expensive fees and penalties.
The loss of reputation and customer trust alone could send the business into a financial spiral. Ultimately, the need for comprehensive network and infrastructure solutions that can make the business more agile, as well as secure, is crucial to phasing out or integrating the applications in ways that further the business.
#3: System Incompatibility
Another problem with using outdated technology is that most legacy systems are incompatible with newer systems, which is essential to effectively running the business in the digital age. This also compounds ongoing financial loss as IT-aware competitors reap the benefits of a growing customer base that requires speed, convenience, and security.
#4: Dwindling Talent Pool
As legacy technology moves further past the point of manufacturer support, fewer and fewer IT professionals with the knowledge of those systems are available to support 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 services, virtualization, and software-defined everything, legacy technologies can no longer enable the business to remain competitive as customers and clients demand faster responses, products, and solutions. The ever-growing costs of data in the age of IoT and big data bring unsustainable OPEX for bare metal servers and other physical hardware in on-premises data centers.
Consequently, the adoption of cloud via infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service enables businesses to move from CAPEX to much lower OPEX models. The need for mobility and secure remote access by the workforce to applications and collaboration tools is an imperative for the smallest business to the largest global corporation.
Every business today is faced with a landscape of accelerating technology that is changing the way business is conducted. Legacy technology systems inhibit business scalability and growth in that constantly evolving digital business landscape. With increased scale and demand, businesses require better throughput capacity and a modern IT architecture to manage operations or face the real prospect of losing relevance and an ability to compete.