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Avoiding legacy technology stagnation – the importance of staying refreshed

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

In today’s hyper-competitive world, everything needs to be done faster, despite greater constraints and tighter budgets. So, it’s no wonder that when organisations face the need for a technology upgrade, they may end up skirting their responsibility to refresh in favour of allocating resources to areas they believe have more pressing needs, such as security. Yet in the long run, this detour can prove self-defeating.

Failure to update technology – even something as simple as employee devices – will invariably open the business up to far more costly and damaging issues further down the line. However, a technology refresh is about much more than just protecting the organisation from potential issues. The snowballing nature of technology advances means that any refresh will also create new opportunities for the organisation; from increased productivity to new capabilities.

Shifting solutions

Some things in life are inevitable: toast always falls butter side down, traffic lights turn red when you’re running late, and system crashes happen at the most inopportune time. Whilst addressing those coincidences in life will ultimately have to be left to a higher power, avoiding the worst of a costly IT crash is well within our reach.

Across all industries we’ve seen a large shift away from on-premise data storage due to the rise of cloud services and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. Data is stored safely in remote systems, leaving it unaffected by local system malfunctions. Businesses have been turning to this approach in swarms, as migrating critical data and applications to a cloud platform not only reduces your risk of losing critical data from a disaster or attack. It also greatly lowers your operational costs.

It may seem costly to update devices and Operating Systems to those that can support these cloud services. Yet that upfront sum will seem miniscule in comparison to the long term benefit from lower costs and reduced risk.

Out with the old, in with the new

The simple fact is that the cost of a security breach or major systems failure that could cripple an organisation’s operations is higher than the cost of a technology refresh. For instance, diverting funds from a technology refresh to security might make sense in the short term. However, if a failure to refresh leaves gaping vulnerabilities open, it may end up as a costly mistake.

Everyone knows that failing to inspect and change the oil, brakes or tyres on your car can lead to much bigger problems down the line. Avoiding a technology refresh follows the same principles but carries with it even greater risks; not only from older technology itself, but from limited tech support from hardware and software providers, and a growing vulnerability to hostile cyberattacks. After all, adversaries looking to attack the enterprise will also update their technology and tactics to be more successful.

Raise your productivity, not your blood pressure

A technology refresh isn’t only about security, reliability or cost – it’s also about helping employees make the most of their time at work. For instance, legacy devices often lack the ability to run multiple apps or provide mobility or support software. This in turn affects productivity, and the hours can quickly add up.

For instance, a recent survey from Insight found that UK office workers are wasting 1.8 billion hours a year due to mediocre technology, proving that productivity can drop of a cliff. This isn’t only a productivity issue, it may also adversely affect employee retention; especially if workers are used to the ease of use and quality of the consumer tech that they have at home.

Compare this to modern devices. These are equipped with powerful operating systems and processors designed to drive efficiency, redefining what’s possible in productivity and enabling employees to work collaboratively and easily. For instance, Microsoft’s new Windows 10 offering comes with the Office 365 cloud suite of applications and runs on 8th generation Intel Core VPro processors. Not only does it give employees the power and tools they need, it also offers an experience many are familiar with from their home machines.

Stay ahead of the curve

The extensive cost of sustaining legacy technology far outweighs the upfront cost of refreshes, especially in today’s connected world. So, to keep up with the competition, organisations need to focus investments on innovation and upgrades to avoid falling behind. In today’s world, letting legacy technology slow you down means risking being put out business. Refreshing devices and systems may seem a large cost, but it’s worth it to avoid costing the business much more.

Alex Guillen, Technology Strategist, Insight UK