Although we’ve discussed the costs of legacy technology to a business in past blog posts, it’s often only truly apparent that it’s become a major challenge for the business when seen in its totality of incidents. By taking stock of the challenges that your business faces daily, weekly, and monthly in ways that have both short-term and long-term negative consequences, it becomes easier to make decisions about the right time to move to virtualization. In that vein, here are five signs it’s time to virtualize your legacy technology.
1. Regular Legacy System Downtime, and it Is No Longer Supported by the Vendor
Generally, if your systems are slow and cumbersome with constant crashes and failure to perform as expected, it is a sign that legacy technology should be virtualized. Evaluating your IT should be a yearly occurrence to ensure that technologies are not reaching the end of life in terms of vendor support. Updates and patches are challenging under the best of circumstances, but with legacy technology that has come to the end of vendor support, glitches and vulnerabilities may be multiplying due to the difficulty in getting updates and patches.
When the vendor ends support, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to move on to virtualization if possible. Staying with legacy technology past the point of vendor support means that you will constantly be trying to keep the solution viable, which introduces untenable costs and risks to the business.
This is true for OS and software in particular that may be slowing down business functions and opening the business up to cyber attacks. When you use outdated legacy technology past the warranty period without a plan, you're risking system failure and data loss.
2. Lack of Mobility, Flexibility, and Agility That Negatively Impacts Productivity
Regardless of the size of your business, the staff cannot function efficiently and be agile without the capability of being mobile and accessing business data and systems remotely. Business process software, as well as secure database access for authorized users through any device anywhere and anytime, is crucial to business growth, productivity, and collaboration, which have a big impact on the bottom line.
The ability to access cloud-based SaaS products from anywhere is crucial to providing that agility while also ensuring business operation uptime in the event of a disaster, man-made or otherwise. If you still need to host your business software on premises, chances are that it is already outdated.
As your business grows, so do your data and the servers that require constant maintenance, monitoring, and management. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of such systems is high due to administrative expenses involved, while the capital expenditure only serves to increase that TCO.
Small businesses should be comparing leading cloud providers to see which is the best for their needs. On average, cloud solutions allow you to save about 65 percent of your IT infrastructure costs over the first three years. And the more servers your systems require, the bigger your cloud benefit.
In addition, legacy systems can be hard or even impossible to change or expand to greater capabilities. This may be due to the outdated technology stack or overly complicated inner architecture. As a result, it becomes increasingly difficult to build new features on top of the existing functionality. If your team needs to write large amounts of custom code to implement a simple feature on top of your system, then it is time you consider virtualization.
3. Increased Security Breaches via Malware and Viruses
BDNA’s State of the Enterprise Report found that old IT assets are a major and often overlooked source of enterprise cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Without processes in place to identify and remediate these “end-of-life” assets, organizations expose themselves to cybercriminals eager to exploit these unprotected flaws.
4. High Operational Costs
Aspects of legacy software such as excessive hardware, staff training, inefficiency, and outages make the operating costs of those systems increasingly high. Additionally, there is a lost opportunity cost usually involved with legacy technology where competitors that are maximizing their use of virtual technologies are capturing greater market share while you lag behind.
5. Increasing Support and Maintenance Costs
Aside from operating your software, you need to keep it up and running at all times. On average, organizations spend from 60 percent to 85 percent of their IT budgets maintaining cumbersome legacy applications that fail to meet the changing competitive needs of the business.
Overall, the signs that it's time to virtualize your legacy technology will be apparent in your increasing cost structure, downtime, low productivity, and workforce frustrations. When you pay attention and begin connecting the dots, it’s not difficult to spot these signs. In almost every case, virtualization is a way to lower both capital expenditure and operating expenditure and the overall TCO in ways that bring gains in the short term as well as the long term. When you begin to compare virtualization solutions to outdated and inefficient legacy technology, the benefits become clear.