Legacy IT – What’s the Big Deal About Old Hardware and Software?

Technology is a critical KPI in any business, with the impressive features of next-gen IT devices and software driving ever-increasing global IT spend. And why we’re constantly impressed at what the latest technology can do and the opportunities it creates, the reality is that staying ahead of the IT curve means constant investment, spending, and training. For the average business, it can seem like the best answer is “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. But running on outdated legacy systems has some serious risks of its own.

What is Legacy IT?

A legacy IT system is no longer fully maintained or supported by the manufacturer but continues to be used in a business environment, usually because it isn’t simple to replace them. It may mean significant capital expenditure, migrating to new and unfamiliar software, or taking on a new partner. These systems are usually critical to the running of the business itself, so upgrades need to be handled expertly or the operation of the business will be put at risk.

The Risks of Running on Legacy IT

#1 – Rising Operational Costs and System Downtime

Legacy systems are running at the end of their lifespan, and as a result, you can expect more frequent system crashes and greater challenges to keeping it up and running – including difficulty finding replacement parts. While expense is often the reason businesses hesitate to upgrade these systems, the pressure they put on your resources and the maintenance costs they incur will outweigh this issue over time.

#2 – Integration Issues

IT systems work with the technology that was current to their period of development. In an industry that advances so rapidly and dynamically, it’s natural that systems from 10 years ago wouldn’t necessarily have the capabilities to deal with today’s IT systems and software. System incompatibility is a serious limitation in the digital age, affecting everything from the services you can offer your customers to inefficiencies in production or supply chain. This immediately puts your business behind competitors who have market-leading IT systems.

#3 – Security

In our articles, we cover IT security issues regularly – for good reason. Cyberattacks are constantly increasing in sophistication and frequency, and in an age of digital business, every organisation is a target. Legacy systems no longer receive support or updates from their manufacturers, so any security vulnerabilities remain unpatched and open to attack. Not only can the system itself be attacked, but these vulnerabilities can be used as a gateway to attack other devices and platforms it connects to, even if these are up-to-date and modern.

The average cost of a data breach in Australia is $3.35 million. That’s a 9.8% increase year on year. While the cost of upgrading legacy systems is not inconsiderable, it’s also important to measure this against the cost – both in dollar amounts and reputational damage – of a breach.

At Otto, we’re not here to sell you an IT product – we’re here to be your IT department, and find the right ways to use IT in your business. We’ll design a system within your budget and designed for your operation, training your team, and making sure you have the best IT protection for your business. If you’re running legacy systems and want to understand your options, talk to us today.