2023 presented a huge shift in business technology for companies of all sizes and across different sectors. It wasn’t just the technology itself, but businesses' attitude in how technology fits as part of their wider strategic aims.
2024 is predicted to shift the technological landscape even further, with more widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cloud computing, as well as further advancements in cybersecurity.
Last year, we wrote about a decreasing pool of legacy developers. As we head into 2024, it looks as though the pool could soon turn into a shallow stream with only a trickle of new water flowing into it - because developers are more likely to train and focus on these newer areas. This could be for many reasons, such as staying relevant, having little confidence with older languages and because working with newer technology excites them.
If your business uses an older IT system built on end-of-life technology (e.g. PHP 8.1 and below, .Net 5.0 and below, or Node.js 18 and below), or you feel heavily restricted by its capabilities, but you’re not looking to move away from it, now is the time to start safeguarding its future.
That’s because, when your developer leaves – or if they’re off unexpectedly – you may find out they are indispensable and struggle to find a developer with the relevant skills and experience to support your legacy system.
If you still have the same system from 10 years ago, there’s a good chance that it performs what you need it to, despite its age. As a result, there’s a tendency to overlook its cumbersomeness and age and stick with what works for your business.
As your legacy system is key to your business operations, downtime could be disastrous if you don’t have the right support and are ready to go. While we don’t always advise against scrapping and replacing an old system if it works, there are still dangers you must avoid:
1. Cyber Vulnerabilities
Older systems were built to defend against the cyber attacks of their time and haven’t always kept up with the latest cyber advancements. Unfortunately, hackers know this and trawl through older systems for vulnerabilities to exploit.
The good news is that there are effective ways to keep your older system protected and these can be implemented on a limited budget. Even if you have a security plan for your legacy, having a third party to give your security setup a second opinion is advisable for your peace of mind.
2. Staff Shortages
With the speed at which technology develops, many developers are keen to ride the new waves and keep up with modern tech. Likewise, training courses and education curriculums have developed to reflect the new methods and practices. Consequently, finding developers with knowledge (or a willingness to work with) your older system could become extremely difficult.
If you’ve opted to keep your old IT system rather than replace it, then you must have a strategy in place for keeping it reliably supported.
3. Compliance Issues
Many industries have regulations and compliance requirements which all businesses in that sector must meet. An outdated system may affect your business’s compliance and lead to serious legal action.
A compliance review of your IT system would raise any potential concerns or non-conformances within your system so you can swiftly address them.
4. Limited Scalability
As your business grows, your IT system should be able to grow with it. If your business has significantly expanded (or there are plans to in the coming years) you need robust IT infrastructure to keep on top of those growths in demand.
Whether the system has more users than when it was built, your business functions have changed, or it’s handling more data than when it was initially launched, failure to scale to your business growth can lead to system failures, slow IT or even IT failures.
With the right legacy system support in place, you can ensure that your IT systems keep up with your sustained business growth.
5. Limited (or no) Ability to Integrate with New Technologies
We recently wrote about predictions for cloud computing in 2024 and how AI and machine learning play a part in this. Earlier in this article, we delved into what these modern tech advancements mean for legacy systems.
If your system can’t integrate with modern technologies and third-party apps, you could face challenges with retaining and hiring staff, remaining competitive and maintaining an efficient business.
A good IT support provider will look after your legacy system and show you how to enhance the system to increase its agility.
6. High Maintenance Costs
A recent study showed the UK government spends almost half its £5bn annual tech budget maintaining its legacy systems. A common misconception is that legacy system maintenance and support is expensive. But that’s only when they’re poorly managed.
When managing your legacy system in-house, hidden costs can often go unnoticed. An outsourced IT support provider can show you how to maximise the cost-effectiveness of your legacy system.
At PSP, we provide flexible pricing and contract models, meaning you only pay for the resources you need. Our service has no hidden costs, and you have on-demand access to a developer when you need it.
One of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard your system and keep it reliably running is by outsourcing your support to a third-party legacy system support provider like PSP. Through a managed contract, there are no hidden costs; you only pay for the service you need. Whether you need to hire a developer for one day a week or you want someone to turn to when something goes wrong.
We'd love to welcome you into our office! We're only 20 miles north of Peterborough, conveniently just off the A16.
Apex Court, Elsoms Way