Currently, every business uses a different set of software and hardware to complete their day to day tasks and save and store all of the data they get, these include servers, smartphones, computing workstations, operating systems, network peripherals (routers, switches), data analysis applications, and more. Each of these systems has the capability to become legacy systems, but let’s start at the beggining, what is a legacy system? it is a system that is no longer supported or maintained by its developer/vendor so it can’t be updated or patched automatically. These ones require constant modernization and especially with how fast technology is moving, it needs to be done sooner rather than later in order to keep up with the demands of a technology and data-driven, progressive world.
One example of what can happen when a company decides to not make the change is the tax day of 2018, the Internal Revenue Service couldn’t process electronically filed tax returns. Although the IRS did not specify what went wrong, the fact that many of their IT systems were outdated at that time might have contributed to the computer glitch and the technical difficulties. But let’s see how not changing your legacy systems can affect your company:
1. IT Strategies Aren’t Prepared for Change
Because these systems are not prepared for the change, companies have to make multiple changes in short periods of time in order to try and pick up with new technologies, weighing the company down in a nonsensical model.
2. Legacy Systems are not secure
Security is based on continuous changes made to meet the latest threats, but since legacy systems can not keep up it makes the company vulnerable to threats on their information and documents.
4. Legacy Systems Are Not Cost-Effective to Manage
Because these systems are usually older, updates and support can be extremely expensive, if there are even available, it takes a lot more work for developers to offer continued maintenance and updates.
5. Compatibility Issues Threaten Business Interactions
Legacy systems typically support file and data formats up to a point, they don’t evolve, making the business stuck using older formats that their clients, partners, or suppliers may not be able to use.
7. Proprietary Tools Aren’t Fun
Older systems are clunky and difficult to change and customize. New systems, are far more flexible and made of smaller parts that are easier to adopt on an as-needed basis.
Upgrading a hardware or software legacy system is a complex process that usually entails using a phased approach to first decide whether a complete replacement of the system is necessary, or whether parts of the system can be integrated or updated, where the rest of the system is then replaced with newer systems. That said, four key steps for upgrading a legacy system are as follows:
- Security Assessment
- Infrastructure Performance Assessment
- Financial Assessment
- Opportunity Cost Assessment
However, it is important to recognize that, with regards to hardware and software legacy systems that have compatibility issues with modern systems, virtualization/emulation is sometimes a solution. While hardware emulation allows a system to emulate a certain hardware chipset and/or architecture in order to run certain platforms, software emulation allows an enterprise to run an appropriate operating system (via virtualization) that can allow them to run the most effective software solutions. That said, it is important to determine whether the emulation is a viable solution, or whether an upgrade is necessary.