When it comes to technology, new systems and equipment are constantly emerging. Most want to stay up-to-date with the latest phones, computers, and other devices. For companies, however, switching over to updated tech poses several challenges. Consequently, many companies rely on “legacy systems” using outdated hardware and software to conduct their business.
While adopting new systems on a large scale can be daunting, change is inevitable. Eventually, all legacy computer systems are abandoned, paving the way for faster, more capable alternatives. Not only does pressure to adapt come from the emergence of new technologies, but a new law passed this year puts government agencies directly on the line for updating their outdated IT systems.
On the most basic level, a legacy system is any system that a business uses due to its familiarity and pre-existing infrastructure instead of utilizing more suitable modern options. There are several reasons that companies stick with legacy systems rather than upgrading to something objectively better.
The cost associated with the new hardware and software is the most apparent factor holding companies back from switching to new systems. Companies are often reluctant to sign off on the intimidating layout when the existing legacy systems are still functioning. These systems can also seem prohibitively expensive compared to what the current system originally cost. The increased expense can be due to technological advancements, the scale of modern systems, or outside factors, like inflation.
In addition to the cost of purchasing new equipment, setting up a new system and disposing of any hardware associated with the old one represent a significant amount of time and money. Often, a separate contractor or logistical partner is also needed to ensure that old equipment is properly disposed of and the new system is ready to operate.
Setting up equipment isn’t the only aspect of installing a new system that can be time-consuming. Apart from hard costs, familiarity is one of the most common reasons for sticking to an outdated legacy system. While user interactions on the customer side of things are often straightforward and intuitive, the more complex processes behind the scenes can take a long time to get used to. In addition to the time and cost associated with retraining all staff in the new protocols, it can be a while before employees get comfortable enough with the new methods to perform at the top of their game.
Perhaps less apparent than more concrete factors, inherent resistance to change plagues almost all organizations. This resistance grows as companies grow, with other, more pressing concerns pushing things, like IT processes, to the background. Likewise, the idea of change is often uncomfortable, with the perception that sticking with what you know is the ‘safe’ decision.
As much as the above arguments may all ring true, the longer an organization goes without change, the more critical it becomes for them to adapt. Improvements from one generation to the next in any given technology may seem incremental, but as time goes on, these changes add up. New, improved systems can be more capable and efficient by several orders of magnitude, and adopting them can be transformative.
Another crucial aspect of legacy systems that is often overlooked is security. As soon as a system hits the market, cybercriminals look for weaknesses and loopholes. The longer a system is on the market, the more its vulnerabilities are known, making it easier for hackers to access compromised data.
While it may not be feasible to constantly replace your entire IT structure every time something new becomes available, it is crucial to frequently reevaluate how effective your current systems are and how your company may gain from upgrading. Often, this involves a hybrid approach, replacing aging devices and integrating new hardware and software into existing systems.
As we mentioned earlier, private companies are not the only ones who need to upgrade their technology periodically. Many government agencies have been stuck with the same inefficient legacy systems for years or even decades. Many factors that cause businesses to resist adopting new tech are even more prevalent for government offices, which are notoriously slow to change.
The Legacy IT Reduction Act, passed earlier this year, seeks to change that. The bipartisan bill mandates that agencies of the US federal government take inventory of their existing IT equipment within the next two years and “develop and include a plan to modernize the legacy IT systems” every five years after that.
A critical (but often overlooked) part of replacing outdated legacy systems is disposing of the old electronic hardware. Old electronic hardware can often be reused or recycled, even if it’s no longer helpful to your company. In addition to keeping you in compliance with all relevant laws about disposing of e-scrap, the right ITAD strategy can extract the maximum value from your “junk” technology, returning some of the cost to you.
Another consideration when disposing of the hardware from your legacy systems is security. When not adequately wiped or destroyed, discarded hard drives and other tech can put your business’s information into the hands of anyone who gets their hands on it. Working with a qualified recycling partner ensures that all your unused hardware is disposed of legally and securely.
When it comes to clearing out old equipment to make room for new tech, First America Metal Corporation (FAMCe) has you covered. We have been a world leader in electronics and metal scrap recycling and non-ferrous export for over 15 years. Our team has over 30 years of experience in reusing and recycling metal commodities, and we are known as one of the top five metal exporters in the entire Midwest.
FAMCe specializes in creating innovative, greener solutions for businesses that want transparent and environmentally-friendly methods of reusing and recycling electronic scrap, high-temperature alloys, and non-ferrous scrap. Our level of expertise, unparalleled customer service, and aggressive pricing make FAMCe the leading option for almost any recycling need.
Learn more and get in touch with us at famce.net.