The Legacy of Technology

February 07, 2018

Information Technology (IT) has evolved over the last three decades from a few punch cards, to a few computers, and now to entire networks of computers. But how has this rapid expansion of technology affected business over the years?

For one thing: there are now hundreds, if not thousands, of legacy applications being held together with a “Turn it off and back on again” approach; what this phrase usually misses off the end is “and pray”.

This is because some business-critical systems have evolved from simple scripts to make life easier, to essential systems running core services. Changing away from these legacy systems can be very costly; partly because no one knows how they work and partly because some techie wants to improve the process by making it shiny and fancy with reports and bells.

The interesting thing about all this legacy technology is that it effects every organisation that’s been around for the last 30+ years – from the National Health Service, to financial institutions, to the high-tech software company.

Changing can be very costly, but so is staying. The longer legacy technology is kept, the more risk there is in keeping it, i.e. the workforce that can support it gets smaller, and the chances it’ll run on a new operating system reduce with each new version of your operating system of choice. Legacy technology may not be supported anymore and is no longer receiving security updates. Was the Internet even remotely the thing it is today when this legacy technology was written? Is it prone to known vulnerabilities or exploits?

Whether you bite the bullet and make the change, or leave it as it is, is a decision only you can make. Either way there are risks - but what presents the greater risk?

What about Legacy Processes using Legacy Technology? Well, handing the risk to someone else can be a great way to both mitigate the risk and reduce the cost. An external pair of eyes can sometimes see the picture from a different angle and give your business practical support.


Guy Symonds - IT Manager




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