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Rejuvenating Technology

IT modernization reduces risk and drives improved business outcomes.


Many organizations today are trying to meet 21st-century business requirements with 20th-century technology. Outdated systems make up almost a third of the typical organization’s IT environment, according to a Vanson Bourne survey, and 80 percent of IT leaders say failure to modernize these systems will limit long-term growth.


Modernization can eliminate risk and create a number of bottom-line benefits. According to Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research, organizations that modernize their IT environments are 22 times more likely to be ahead of the competition when bringing new products and services to market. They are also 18 times more likely to make better and faster data-driven decisions than their competition and twice as likely to exceed their revenue goals.


Cloud migrations and application updates are essential elements of a modernization effort, but many other areas of the IT environment must also be addressed. Here are some of the key areas to consider:


Infrastructure modernization


Infrastructure modernization is a big job that involves modifications and updates to hardware, software and networking components. However, it is a key first step that will enable a range of other modernization efforts. For example, artificial intelligence, automation and analytics projects will likely all require infrastructure changes to better support the collection, processing and analysis of huge data sets from various sources. But with data sources scattered across remote locations, edge servers and multi-cloud environments, organizations need a more unified IT environment to reduce complexity and fragmentation.


That’s why many organizations are moving toward a hybrid environment that combines cloud and on-premises resources. Hybrid IT delivers the flexibility, elasticity, scalability and cost optimization of the cloud along with the reliability, security and control of on-premises infrastructure.


Device modernization


All technology eventually wears out. PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices have a finite lifetime. Even when they still seem to be working well, aging devices can have hidden costs. A TechAisle study found that annual repair costs for a five-year-old PC are almost double that of a new machine, with employees experiencing an average of 42 hours of lost productivity each year while machines are being repaired. Older devices experience more frequent application and system performance issues, malware attacks and connectivity problems.


Remote workers are highly dependent on personal smartphones, laptops and desktop computers. In most cases, these are consumer-grade devices that lack the computing power, reliability and features of a business-grade machine.


Business-grade laptops with the latest processors provide the performance, connectivity and battery life remote workers require. Investments that companies make in device upgrades are paying off in increased productivity. According to an Intel study, remote workers with devices featuring 10th-generation CPUs achieve 40 percent better application performance, 36 percent improved productivity and 44 percent faster analytics.


Communications modernization


By some estimates, nearly half of U.S. businesses have older phone systems with fragmented applications and limited capabilities. Without access to advanced communication and collaboration features, employees aren’t as efficient or productive as they might be.


UC systems reduce the risks and limitations of legacy phone systems while providing feature-rich communication and collaboration capabilities. They tightly integrate desktop and mobile phones, chat, text messaging, email, conferencing and other communication channels through a single interface. Integration with customer relationship management (CRM) systems and other enterprise applications provides easy access to customer data.


Security modernization


Decentralized computing environments make security more challenging than ever because resources are no longer contained within a traditional security perimeter. An SD-WAN improves security with end-to-end encryption and authentication. It also lays the foundation for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which consolidates multiple network and security functions into a single cloud-delivered solution.


To further modernize security efforts, more organizations are adopting a zero-trust strategy that assumes everyone and everything accessing network resources is a threat until verified and validated. Core zero-trust technologies include multifactor authentication, device validation and network segmentation.


Backup modernization


Cloud backup should be incorporated into any modernization strategy. In a pure cloud backup environment, data is copied directly to cloud infrastructure through agents installed on company systems and user devices. In a hybrid cloud backup approach, data is copied to an onsite appliance which in turn synchronizes the data to a cloud provider. Either approach makes it simple to restore data in the event of a server crash or some other disaster. Cloud backup options require no capital investment for equipment and make backup an operational cost.


Increased automation is another benefit. Cloud backup solutions eliminate error-prone manual processes, and provide automated backup and file syncing that reduces the backup window and relieves much of the management burden. Backups are scheduled to occur automatically, and data is compressed, deduplicated and encrypted. Automated testing features ensure that data and applications can be recovered if needed.

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