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Home / Insights / Blog / 5 Signs It’s Time to Replace a Legacy IT System
September 17, 2019 - by Tim Britt
Companies often postpone replacing legacy IT systems for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the systems are kept because everyone is comfortable with using them. Other times, companies don’t want to disrupt business operations or drain their budgets.
However, there is a point at which legacy IT systems become a burden and hurt businesses. Here are five signs that it might be time to replace a legacy IT system in your business.
Legacy IT systems are at higher risk of being attacked because they typically lack advanced technologies that can help protect them from cyberattacks. For example, legacy printers do not include intrusion detection technologies to guard against in-memory malware injection and other types of attacks.
Similarly, legacy IT systems often don’t have the support needed to secure them against new types of cyberattacks. Software providers, for instance, typically don’t provide security updates for applications once they have reached the end of their life cycles. Applications that don’t receive security updates are at higher risk of being compromised by newly discovered security vulnerabilities and threats. To make matters worse, cybercriminals often keep track of when software suppliers stop supporting their applications. Once the support ends, they launch new cyberattacks targeting those programs.
Legacy IT systems can gnaw away at the bottom line. They tend to break down frequently, and having experts constantly come in to fix the problems can get expensive. Plus, the downtime caused by a breakdown can be just as costly.
Another possible expense is having to pay extra to support software that has reached the end of its life cycle. For example, companies that want to continue using Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, will have to pay extra to receive extended security updates.
Getting old and new IT systems to work together can be frustrating. Often, it’s impossible. For example, a company might not be able to install a new business app on a legacy computer because the app requires a more modern operating system, yet the operating system can’t be upgraded because the computer’s hardware won’t support it.
In some cases, businesses can use a workaround to get a legacy system and a new system to work together. However, the workaround might be expensive to create if it requires special equipment or expertise (e.g., custom coding). Plus, the workaround might slow down operations.
Legacy IT systems can take a toll on employee productivity if employees have to constantly wait for a legacy IT system to do its task. For instance, employees might have to always wait for data to download if their company’s Wi-Fi router supports only the 802.11g, 802.11b, or 802.11a wireless specification. These routers have slower signal speeds compared to modern counterparts. Or employees might have to continually wait for resource-intensive apps to finish an operation if those apps are running on legacy computers. Older computers usually have less RAM and processing power than newer ones.
Companies must evolve to meet customers’ changing needs and in turn the IT systems must be designed to help meet those needs. For example, a grocery store might want to add a curbside delivery service since customers are requesting it and the store is losing business to competitors that offer this type of service. However, the store’s legacy IT systems might not have the functionality to carry out the back-end tasks needed to provide a curbside delivery service.
Determining when a legacy IT system should be replaced can be difficult. Occasionally, the need for replacement is painfully obvious, but most of the time more subtle issues arise such as having maintenance costs creep up while employee productivity slinks down.
Synoptek’s IT system experts can assess the situation and help you determine whether the time has come to replace your legacy system. We can also provide you with recommendations on the best replacement IT systems.
Learn how we can help bring your IT strategy quickly up to speed, and guide you to the best possible answers to even the most complex technical challenges.
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