1 answer

Technology often evolves very quickly, but standardization processes are very slow. By the time a technology...

Question:

Technology often evolves very quickly, but standardization processes are very slow. By the time a technology has been standardized, and then passed an organization's internal approval process, the prior technology may have been in place for years. Discuss the issues involved in deciding to continue use of older ("legacy") software or adopt a new technology, and best practices to reduce risk in each of those two cases. Use a specific network security technology as an example to illustrate your answer.


Answers

Technology has always been changing and advancing. It is imperative for organizations to adapt to new technologies for growth and performance. However, many firms and enterprises still depend on legacy technology for the activities in the organization. The transition to innovative systems is very difficult in these firms.

Following are some of the challenges and issues in this regard:

The digital world and legacy systems' integration:

Digital transformation in the organizational environment can be supported only when the present system is embraced fully and the new system is used for the leveraging of it. Legacy or older systems refer to IT assets of a company and they can be hard to replace when all the work was dependent on them.

  • It can also be a hindrance to the growth of the company when the competition is always increasing in the market.
  • Older technology is used because it is reliable and new technology may sound daunting and complex.

Security issues:

Irrespective of the kind of technology is used in the organization, it is always prone to hacking and data breach.

As technology advances, so do the ways to hack systems. The security vulnerabilities of older systems are usually because of no updates, no maintenance, etc. and the new system might be an updated version of it.

  • In a much-committed company’s system, health checks have been ignored and it has caused many issues related to cybercrime.
  • To keep these systems running in a secure manner, it is important to continuously update them and maintain them.
  • With legacy systems, many firms become complacent and try to engage with third-party vendors for security issues.

Cost-effective:

Legacy systems are less expensive as compared to advanced systems. This is one of the reasons for enterprises to continue their use. However, they need to understand that support and updates given to the legacy system can prove out to be more expensive than the advanced system.

This is because their technology and operating systems are slowly becoming obsolete.

  • Also, the required personnel who can work with these kinds of systems is also decreasing.
  • Transferring the work to new technology may be rewarding in this case.
  • New technology such as cloud platforms, help in not only simplifying the operations but also increase the security value and help in attracting more customers.
  • It helps in increasing revenue.

Compatibility issues:

Legacy systems are no longer compatible with modern IT solutions in the market. This can cause problems when it comes to end-user concerns. There is always a gap between what the system offers and what the customer demands when it comes to legacy systems.

  • It increases the overhead of looking for solutions to work around the given system.
  • It adds more complexity to the task at hand.

Example:

An example here would be DOS networking. DOS networking incorporated different approaches to connect nodes on a network to share resources and other files. The system is no longer in use.

Windows has taken its place and there have been many advancements in the Windows operating system itself when it comes to network security issues.

  • Some versions of DOS are used in embedded systems because of the close proximity of DOS to the hardware.
  • However, there was a need to adapt it to the current advancements in technology.

There are many legacy networks that rely on VLANS and the use of various APIs. This is called the incorporation of modern technology in legacy systems.

Practices to reduce the risk of change:

Understand customer needs:

Any business depends on its customers and their satisfaction with products and services. The modern technology has helped in delivering value to the customer in numerous ways. Legacy systems can amplify the use of advanced technology and offer customers a better experience.

  • It can be done after designing business cases and switching to advanced technology slowly.
  • Clarity of the outcome can help in this case.
  • The experts can be consulted to work together and towards the change around specifications.

Simplification of the architecture:

The legacy systems had very complex architecture and it made it hard to program them, less flexibility made it hard for them to connect with other systems. Modern platforms come with standard code and can interact more with other systems with some modifications.

  • APIs are an example in this case.
  • Companies can develop new components with the help of third-party companies and develop interoperable elements.
  • The configurable nature of modern technology has made it the number one choice for growing networks.

Increased value in the market:

Nowadays customers value a firm by looking at the use of technology they use.

The credibility of the company's work depends highly on the security systems at the place, customer interaction, and quick query response.

  • When the client picks long-term partners, they take into consideration the evaluation criteria of the company.
  • Advanced technologies promise security as they keep evolving with the time and developers keep updating them to combat newly emerging threats.
  • It has increased its long-term viability and commitments.
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