3 minute read

The Costs and Risks of Legacy Technology for Higher Education

3/12/2024 8:00 PM

Technology and information systems are essential to today’s colleges and universities. They help students, faculty, and staff do nearly everything on campus.

Technology and information systems are always changing. New technological developments, users’ needs, security threats, and compliance requirements push solutions forward to meet new challenges and create new opportunities.

Legacy technology struggles to keep pace with change and burdens higher education institutions with many costs, limitations, and liabilities, creating a serious operational and business need to modernize technology on campus.

Technology that is not progressing is technology that is failing

The problems of legacy tech are many, the consequences are significant, and the complications interact to increase costs and potential risks. Some of the major problems of legacy tech include:

  • Limited to no updates and support means problems don’t get fixed and maintenance costs are high: All technology requires regular maintenance but legacy tech requires much more work, often painstaking work, because it is chronically outdated. Older tech is not updated often, or possibly ever, because the vendor is focused on developing newer solutions, no longer supports the product, or the product has reached end of life. Existing problems will get worse since they are not addressed.
  • Inability to adapt and lack of new features compounds itself: In addition to problems going without fixes, improvements are not offered. Legacy tech cannot keep pace with changes in technology and therefore cannot take advantage of new opportunities and provide new features. The inability to adapt to changes in technology and user habits compounds how far you are falling behind.
  • Inability to update security: Of all the new features that legacy tech is not providing, new security features—such as multi-factor authentication (MFA)—are possibly the most significant. The inability to take advantage of the newest information security technology creates serious risks for an organization.
  • Incompatibility blocks improvement: Legacy tech is often incapable of integrating with other technologies and this holds staff back from improving processes through scalability, coordination, centralization, standardization, streamlining, and automation. The incompatibility is caused by the age of legacy tech and the restrictions of proprietary solutions.
  • Bridging the gap between legacy and new tech is an enormous effort: Attempting to bridge legacy and new tech requires a significant investment of staff and resources to build, test, and implement do-it-yourself connections. In an era of fiscal constraints, developing homegrown solutions is not an efficient or productive use of resources.
  • Difficulty maintaining regulatory compliance: Legacy tech struggles to keep up with evolutions in policy because the tech itself is not evolving to meet new standards. That is a particular problem for higher education because it is a highly regulated industry, with state, federal, and industry regulations to follow in addition to institutional policies.
  • Does not deliver data in demand: Higher ed administrators increasingly rely on data to inform decision making on nearly all aspects of campus business and operations. Legacy tech does not offer the depth and breadth of data and the dashboards and reports that modern technologies provide.
  • Poor performance and user experience for everyone: Whether students, staff, faculty, or campus visitors, users of legacy tech contend with clunky interfaces, slow task execution, frustrating processes, increased downtime, and more issues. This creates a negative experience for everyone interacting with it.

Invest in modern, evolving solutions to address modern, evolving problems

Since legacy tech cannot keep up with today’s changes, it cannot address today’s problems or provide new benefits. Higher education is facing cybersecurity problems and insufficient IT staffing, and managing legacy tech demands significant time and effort that is in short supply.

Today’s solutions and systems are built to resolve old and new difficulties and provide new capabilities that fit today’s demands for an interconnected campus. They simplify the business of higher ed by readily interoperating with other technologies and efficiently and productively handling tasks via integration, automation, and streamlining.

The only constant is change and the only tech that keeps up with change is modern solutions.

If you are interested in transitioning away from legacy technology, contact us to see how TouchNet solutions can help.