The Benefits of Late Adoption

Perhaps my greatest shortcoming as a nerd is my reluctance for early adoption of technology; I simply have no interest in the latest, bestest, newest, coolest gadgets on the market.

Yes, this can cause me to lag in my estimation of IT solutions. Yes, I am mocked (and rightly so) by students and colleagues when I tell them I still have an AOL email account. Yes, I am old and everybody should get off my lawn. But there is also an upside to late adoption:

- Huge cost savings. Huge. I can wait two years for the novelty of a thing to wear off, and get a much-reduced price when I get around to buying it. This is especially true in software, and especially especially true for games.

- I'm never involved in the proof of concept. Back when I was a young (read: stupid) man, I bought the first year-model of a new car. Within the first year of owning it, all the defects and design problems inherent in that model became quickly apparent, and there were multiple recalls. Waiting a while to buy a thing means that the first wave of customers have taken the brunt of field testing, and the thing is now ready for actual regular use.

- No false sense of security. The latest suite of products are often seen as inviolable, because they use the latest security protocols and tools; this can lead to sloppy practice and habits (like crafting and transmitting data with sensitive info, even when it could be avoided) because users feel a reliance and trust for the product. This puts them one zero-day exploit away from feeling very silly.

- Strangely enough, legacy platforms may be more secure in some ways than their new-fangled replacements...mainly because aggressors won't actually believe that those legacy products are still being used for viable purposes, and won't include legacy attack methods/gear in their toolkits. I mean, I really don't think the script-kiddies even know what AOL is, much less how to hack it. Sure, a dedicated adversary won't have a tough time getting the proper attack tools once they know a target is using a legacy system, but a dedicated adversary is going to get in eventually, regardless of the age of your platform.

- Utility/productivity is always a tradeoff with risk and security. The more I can do with a tool, the more I can lose. Losing a 256K flashstick in a hotel lobby will cause me a lot less damage than dropping a 2Tb flashstick. My old flipphone had no identifying data on it (other than some texts and a rudimentary Contacts list), in stark contrast to my smartphone (which, I think, has my DNA, cocktail preferences, innermost thoughts, and secret cookie cravings embedded in the BIOS).

No, I'm not saying that everyone should immediately regress to a Luddite position of rolling back three generations of tech in order to gain some slight advantage...but buying up the latest and greatest shiny boxes and zippy software is not the best choice, either.