3 Ways to Refresh Your Legacy Tools

Over the past year, organizations have transformed their endpoint environments, but continue to manage and protect their new environments with legacy tools designed for legacy environments. Historically, the endpoint environment was relatively small, static, and predictable. They were provisioned by IT and filled with endpoints that existed on-premises. But over the past year, organizations have moved from the majority of on-premises environments to a mostly decentralized workforce. According to Pew Research Center findings, 71% of employees continue to work from home most or most of the time, compared to just 20% before the pandemic.

Organizations spent decades building defense around on-premises employees. Those boundaries were designed only to manage and protect the endpoints within that wall, and became almost ineffective as soon as the user and that endpoint left the office. Subsequently, this flooded the environment with new endpoints, data, and connections. Despite these major changes to the environment, many organizations continue to manage and protect the endpoint using legacy tools designed for older environments leading to discouraging, problematic results.

Legacy tools can’t be applied to modern environments

Simply put, yesterday’s endpoint tool worked well in yesterday’s endpoint environment.
There are no fundamental issues with legacy endpoint tools. However, when these tools are applied to today’s environments, they usually fail to perform basic endpoint management and security tasks. It’s not easy to manage and protect a large, evolving environment filled with distributed endpoints.

Most legacy tools require dozens of staging servers to perform simple endpoint management and security tasks. This structure prevents it from expanding rapidly along rapidly changing networks and consumes large amounts of bandwidth to scan large distributed networks and apply security controls. This enormous amount of bandwidth creates visibility gaps and lowers the level of compliance with simple controls.

Legacy tools can’t quickly centralize data

Most legacy tools utilize centralized data acquisition and measurement. Every time you analyze endpoint data, you first need to get all the data from the network and store it in a central repository. However, today’s vast endpoint environment produces more data than legacy tools can quickly centralize. With traditional tools, organizations can no longer collect, store, and analyze endpoint data in an available way, requiring endpoint management and security decisions based on a limited, older dataset.

These tools make endpoint management and security unnecessarily complex and costly. Most legacy tools are designed to solve a single specific problem. This design typically requires an organization to adopt a new point tool each time it introduces a new asset type or vulnerability into the environment. These point tools do not work together and add complexity.

How to move away from legacy tools

The best strategy for making smart decisions about legacy systems is to focus on your current needs, not on the tools you adopted to meet your past needs. While it’s hard to forget how expensive and ingrained some of your tech systems might be, that train of thought goes backward, not forward. Your business has evolved and the pace of digital innovation has skyrocketed since those early investments. Here are 3 ways to refresh your legacy tools and get out ahead of the competition:

  1. Articulate your business goals - take the time to understand what your company’s business goals are today, as well as where your company expects to grow in the next 3 to 5 years. In parallel, take stock of the tools that will drive that growth. Resist the urge to align your needs with specific products. Instead, name the function you need to perform.

  2. Set your business priorities - to get the most from your tech budget, choose a small number of priorities that will help you address your biggest pain points and drive your business forward. Identify the areas that would benefit the most from a tech refresh — both today and in the future.

  3. Assess your technology options - leaning away from some old tools gives you the chance to lean into some new ones. It’s important to remember when evaluating your legacy tools that technology as a whole is moving away from monolithic enterprise systems and toward more nimble options that were designed to meet today’s fast-evolving environment.

Three words that can turn a CIO's heart to stone are legacy system modernization. The perception is that the concept refers to a labor-intensive, energy-absorbing effort - with an outcome that is almost invariably unsatisfactory. In addition to the time, money and effort expended, there's also the opportunity costs of not engaging in other more transformative projects. And the end result is rarely as agile, flexible, functional or user-friendly as a system designed more recently. But it doesn't have to be this way. Modernization does not have to be complicated.

Listen, it’s only natural that your technology stack needs an upgrade. Taking a structured approach to legacy system modernization can minimize the effort and cost of upgrades while ensuring the results are optimal from a functionality, performance and UX standpoint. Fortunately, we are skilled at doing just that. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your legacy system modernization.

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