Spotting Signs Your IT is Out of Date
Focus on the four primary levels of evaluation
- By Jorge Del Prado Lera
- Dec 01, 2019
The evolution of IT technology is advancing at
breakneck speed. This evolution not only keeps
the IT department in a constant state of change,
but also dramatically changes the way the overall
business must adapt to stay competitive.
IT technologies have rapidly morphed, including the way users
consume them. Companies that hesitate to adapt will quickly
fall from market leaders to laggards depending how effectively
they embrace digital transformation.
But how does a leader know if the company is leading or lagging,
and if its IT is out of date? While there are numerous ways
to evaluate, let us focus on four primary levels, including infrastructure,
applications, mobility and workplace IT.
When we talk about infrastructure, first thoughts typically go to
the cloud. The cloud, in essence, is a change of paradigm, not
a technological change. Your company, in the past, purchased
servers typically housed in your own data center. This model was
based on periodic capital investments.
The maintenance might have been done by internal or external
teams. Depending on a company’s approach, there was often an
operational expense to support the data center too. The challenge
is data centers can become outdated quickly, and you must maintain
ongoing hardware investments to maintain effectivity.
If you have not already, an evaluation of completely moving
to an operational model in the cloud should be conducted. Oftentimes,
companies are forced to do so because some aspects of
their infrastructure and applications require the cloud.
Keeping a data center on your company’s premises is a clear
sign of outdated IT and not using the cloud at all is another one.
You probably have a combination of commercial off-the-shelf
(COTS) business and legacy applications as well as some developed
ad-hoc for your business (bespoke applications). When we
talk about COT, there are two signs your systems are outdated.
First, the version you use is no longer supported by the vendor,
and there is not an easy way to upgrade the version.
This situation, sooner or later, will trigger tough decisions that
will require an important, and potentially significant, investment.
When we talk about bespoke applications, an important sign of
obsolescence is when the technology used to develop your application
is not used anymore in new applications and it is hard to
find developers to maintain them.
The final point to mention here is licensing. Licensing models
are moving more to SaaS (Software as a Service) where you pay
for the whole package including software and hosting. If most
of the applications you have follow an old licensing model, this
might mean you are not moving at the right pace and need to
rethink your applications strategy.
Applications versions, licensing models and technology used
in your development will guide you on how outdated your applications
With mobility, we refer to how employees or customers can interact
with the company via mobile devices. This is typically the
area of greatest obsolescence in companies. In the most common
failings, your employees are not able to manage their work from
their mobile devices or your customers are not able to access your
website in a mobile friendly way. Consumer use of mobile has
overtaken the use of desktops to access services. Businesses must
adapt instead of relying on laptop use.
If mobile is not a core part of your IT strategy, this means
your IT has been outdated for a while already and you should
define a strategy to catch up.
The last, but not least, indicator of outdated IT we want to highlight
is workplace IT. This addresses desktop PCs, laptops, mobile
phones and workspace applications like email, telephony,
It is well understood you need a plan to renew your devices,
which is usually every three years for mobile phones depending
on your specific needs. You also need to have your operating system
up to date to run modern applications. If you do not have an
update plan, it’s a sign that the workplace is outdated. Another
clear sign is if you use a hosted email system instead of a cloud
system or if you still use old telephony devices instead of IP ones.
For a non-IT company, IT is becoming a service rather than
a duty that the company itself manages. That can sometimes feel
uncomfortable and perceived as a loss of control. But it really
means IT is managed by highly specialized companies so your
company can focus on your own business and customers, surely
much more exciting than IT itself.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of Security Today.