EasySend posted on 27 Apr 2020
For reasons ranging from productivity to cybersecurity, businesses should keep their tech systems upgraded with the latest operating systems and updated hardware. Upgrading a tech system can bring much-needed improvement to speed and functionality. However, it’s important to proceed carefully to avoid disruption and data loss.
Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council offer tips to help tech leaders upgrade their companies’ tech systems safely and quickly.
1. Have A Proper Upgrade Strategy First
Before starting any upgrade process make sure you and your team have set up a well-thought-out strategy. Make sure you have a fully functional backup and restore it in a new environment. It’s always good to launch the new tech on a separate server, restore and migrate the data, and switch the IPs. - Gev Balyan, UCRAFT
2. Utilize No-Code Application Development
Disruption is often a result of the overreliance on code in the enterprise IT. With code, a solution to every business challenge is heavily reliant on limited IT resources. With no-code platforms, traditionally slow-moving enterprises can finally embrace startup agility while minimizing risks. - Tal Daskal, EasySend
3. Evaluate, Test, Upskill And Roll Out
Periodic technology upgrades are critical to the success of any business. We’ve defined a framework that ensures this process is smooth. First, evaluate options and identify the one that aligns with your business needs. Second, test with a small batch and assess the risks. Third, ensure the upskilling of your existing workforce to adapt to newer systems. Finally, roll out at once or in stages. - Mayank Mishra, Contentstack
4. Follow The Data Path
Big infrastructure and system upgrades that are ill-conceived and lack a clear blueprint lead to unintended catastrophes. The most important consideration while planning is to follow the data path and identify the intertwined dependencies, thereby avoiding bottlenecks ahead of time. - Venkat Thummisi, Cannon Cyber
5. Focus On Understandability
Not every application needs to become modernized, containerized and built on microservices. Some of the most important applications in the world still run on a mainframe. The ones that move to the cloud require visibility but also understandability, which comes from better access to data and code. - Shahar Fogel, Rookout
6. Use An Iterative Approach
There’s little to be gained by a “rip and replace” technology change. With increasingly open systems and an abundance of application program interfaces, most technologies can coexist and be tested for a period of time before implementing wholesale changes. Iterating is a wise choice—process by process, team by team. - Jen Grogono, uStudio
7. Implement Three-Phase Migration
To upgrade a system of record I recommend a three-phase process. First, copy all the data into the new system. Second, run both new and existing systems in parallel, writing updates to both for a month. Third, once the new system is confirmed to be correct, make a read-only archive copy of the old one and then shut it down. - Bret Piatt, Jungle Disk
8. Cover All Your Bases
It’s important to first map the critical assets and make sure they are backed up, aligning with the business continuity plan of the company. Also, be sure to evaluate the existing threats and potential risks of these upgrades. Deploying a proof of concept for new solutions in a sandbox is also a must. - Amit Bareket, Perimeter 81
9. Leverage Progressive Rollouts
Companies see the most success by striking a balance between quality and the speed at which they deploy new software and services. Approach upgrades with progressive rollouts to minimize risk. Monitor both systems and code for a full-stack view to stay ahead of potential issues no matter the cause. - Milin Desai, Sentry.io
10. Implement Proper Supporting Solutions
The best way to upgrade old tech systems without risking data loss is with solutions that are easy to implement and grant control over how data is accessed. These features will quickly ensure security and extend access to data without requiring companies to give up visibility or control. - Anurag Kahol, Bitglass
11. Integrate The Right Security Controls
IT teams struggle to identify security issues after they upgrade old tech systems, which can lead to data breaches and hefty fines. As such, the best way to upgrade old tech systems is by taking a proactive approach and simultaneously integrating the proper security controls. - Chris DeRamus, DivvyCloud
12. Ensure Your Tech Partner Has Industry-Specific Expertise
The devil is in the details. A general tech partner could unintentionally but easily miss key requirements for a specific industry. For example, electronic signature capture for retail delivery is required to ensure payment. Generalists can miss key vertical requirements. - Teesee Murray, Epicor
13. Keep Up With Updates
Upgrades can get costly. Keep up with updates and set a clear end-of-life roadmap. This will trigger a review of the current system’s status and allow an analysis of the cost of business impact due to downtime versus the cost of an upgrade. Long upgrade cycles can get too big to update and impossible to maintain. - Bruno Guicardi, CI&T
13. Understand Dependencies
When undertaking a transformation of your tech systems, you need to understand the dependencies of all applications, servers, services, etc. A holistic view of the application infrastructure through a common data model gives you that visibility and the opportunity to bring in modern capabilities. - Bob Davis, Plutora
14. Do It The Agile Way
Replacing and modernizing legacy systems is a long and cumbersome project. Along the way, business requirements will certainly change, leading to continuous scope changes. The best way to handle this is to replace legacy systems in thin vertical slices with agile practices. - Christoph Windheuser, ThoughtWorks
15. Don’t Upgrade—Start From Scratch
By far the best way to upgrade is to build a new system from scratch with your current requirements. Taking legacy systems and trying to transform them is the same as trying to remodel a 50-year-old house. You will never get what you really want. - Charles Silver, Permission.io
Originally published in Forbes
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