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Technical Debt: What it is and Why You Should Care

January 10, 2023  |  by VectorUSA

If you’ve been trying to manage your organization’s IT infrastructure, chances are you’ve heard of the term ‘technical debt’. Simply put, it is the amount of time and effort needed to update or replace outdated or deprecated technologies, applications, systems, and processes in order to reduce risk and enhance efficiency. The older the technology gets, the larger this debt grows – a fact that was highlighted in a recent Twitter video from Langner Group. Let’s break down why you should be aware of your technical debt and how you can reduce it.

The video discussed how many organizations have significant amounts of technical debt due to legacy systems that go unpatched or unaddressed for long periods of time. This can be linked to hundreds or even thousands of operating system vulnerabilities that accumulate over time. These vulnerabilities often remain dormant until they are found by malicious actors who exploit them for their own gain.  There are several sources that contribute to technical debt.

What are the Sources of Technical Debt?

  • The first source is poor design decisions. If a company makes decisions without considering how they will impact both the short-term and long-term goals the company may have inadvertently taken on technical debt. 
  • Another common source of technical debt includes code refactoring, which can create issues in the future if not done properly. Additionally, when developers do not use automated tests or follow coding standards, this too creates additional technical debt. 
  • Outdated technology can also contribute to technical debt as companies need to invest more resources into maintaining older systems instead of implementing newer ones.

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The Langner Group tweet went on to note that the biggest risk isn’t necessarily the vulnerability reported yesterday, but rather the ones that have been neglected for 10-15 years old and left unresolved with no action taken to mitigate them. A prime example of this is the Southwest Airlines Crisis with nearly 16,000 cancelled Southwest flights due to relying on antique systems that failed to uphold the airlines tech infrastructure. As if this wasn't bad enough, it's estimated that there is actually an 'ocean' of vulnerabilities created by various products, configurations, etc., all waiting for someone to take advantage of them. 

How Can You Reduce Your Technical Debt? 

The best way to reduce your technical debt is through proactive management and maintenance of your software systems and platforms. This includes investing in automated testing and continuous integration tools that run tests regularly against code changes made by developers. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all developers adhere to coding standards so that all code follows a consistent style across the entire system or platform. By having well-defined coding standards and guidelines in place, you can avoid potential problems down the line due to inconsistent code styles across different parts of your system or platform.
 
Finally, investing in new technologies often helps reduce both development time and costs while also increasing the overall quality of your products. New technologies often include features designed specifically with scalability and reliability in mind which can help reduce risk associated with product failure due to poorly written code or outdated technology components being used within a system or platform architecture. When you're looking for a way to make your network more secure, utilizing the power of modern policy engines makes it easier than ever before to enhance safety measures while ensuring resources are functioning properly.

Remain Up-to-Date and Secure at all times.

This is why it's essential for organizations to monitor and address their technical debt effectively; failing to do so could have disastrous effects on an organization, both in terms of finances and data security. With the right remote infrastructure management solutions in place, you can avoid these pitfalls and keep your organization running smoothly. Here at VectorUSA, we offer end-to-end managed services solutions that are tailored to your specific needs. We can help with everything from defining business processes and requirements to providing ongoing operations and service desk support.

Don't wait until it's too late – take a proactive step and book a consultation with us today, let us show you how we can help you overcome your technical debt challenges.

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