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The risks of an outdated IT infrastructure

General news | Security | Zscaler Security
March 7, 2022
Zscaler Global Cloud Security

When the IT infrastructure collects dust, it becomes a security risk.

Over the years, companies have built up a “debt” in IT infrastructure, which could become a security risk as the world moves towards hybrid work models. We often do this at home too: we’ve all been guilty of buying a new product and keeping the old product just in case. Then it ends up in the closet to do nothing but gather dust. IT departments have done something similar. Even after acquiring new infrastructure, teams can’t quite get rid of the old setup. But they also don’t always give these forgotten components the attention they once received.

Traditional infrastructure
The pandemic has made clinging to old infrastructure a ticking time bomb. A company with outdated and neglected technology in its infrastructure is more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The shift to work-from-anywhere models forced many companies to enter the digital world before they were ready and made hasty investments to establish new infrastructure and internet-based services. This was the only way for companies to maintain their productivity. The IT team was focused on new investments in remote connectivity, multi-cloud environments, and web servers during this process. It was easy to lose sight of the fact that they also built up significant amounts of technology debt in the process.

Companies need to rethink the legacy technology collecting dust in their network to remedy this dangerous situation. There are two types of debt to watch out for:


Internal, long-term debt:

These are components that have been part of the company’s ecosystem for some time but exist on open networks with no controls or restrictions. Often companies have no idea which parts of their network are exposed to the internet, where they can be used as a gateway for an attack without relevant security measures. These legacy technologies are one of the main entry routes for cybercriminals, who have all the tools to detect these vulnerabilities in unpatched systems or misconfigured servers.


External recently acquired debts:

These are components that have been hastily built over the past 18 months to provide the required connectivity. This category includes VPNs, remote desktops, jump boxes, and websites or cloud workloads that are quickly configured. These things pose a risk to the business, especially if they are not protected with suitable security mechanisms. An assessment is needed to determine which new components have been added to address the associated risks.

The next step
Do you want to reduce your technical debt after reading this article? Read Zscaler’s full article to learn more about this.