Are Legacy Applications Putting Your Organization at Risk?

According to a new study from Vanson Bourne, 89 percent of IT decision makers in the U.K. continue to use legacy applications because they want to make sure data in these applications is accessible. Odds are, the numbers are similar in the U.S.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation in this study is the fact that the vast majority of respondents are well aware of the risks and problems created by running old or obsolete applications. They continue to do it anyway, however.

In fact, 87 percent of IT decision makers acknowledge that they are increasing the risk of a data breach by running old applications and operating systems. Security patches might not be available for vulnerabilities in legacy applications, and some vulnerabilities are impossible to resolve. Even if patches are available, legacy applications are typically considered a low priority. Also, 82 percent of survey respondents recognize that older applications are rarely compatible with modern security and authentication tools, making these applications inherently less secure.

In addition to widely known security risks, 93 percent of respondents understand that legacy applications are consuming resources that could be used to support modern applications. Many legacy applications aren’t mobile friendly and can’t be integrated with new technology, which creates data silos. When you can’t integrate your applications and data, you can’t create a consistent user experience or modernize your IT environment. The longer you wait to migrate, the more difficult that migration becomes.

Older applications also tend to become unreliable. Performance issues and downtime eat into productivity and profits. To make matters worse, support is usually more expensive and difficult to find for legacy applications. While you constantly put out fires, your business could very well outgrow your legacy applications, which can slow or prevent growth and keep you from taking advantage of new business opportunities.

Many organizations just don’t know whether they should try to update legacy applications or completely rewrite them. The Vanson Bourne study found that 32 percent of respondents don’t have the in-house expertise to decommission old applications. Ultimately, these decisions should be driven by business requirements and risk. In some cases, rewrites can be done gradually on top of the legacy code base, but a full rewrite is often the best option.

Generally, it’s time for a rewrite if:

  • Legacy applications are keeping you from achieving goals or growing the business, and updates won’t improve the situation.
  • You don’t want to change old applications because you’re afraid they’ll just break.
  • You’re constantly using workarounds to address broken features or paying for features you don’t need.
  • You can’t add the functionality you need to get the job done or expand your capabilities.
  • Legacy applications have serious security vulnerabilities that can’t be addressed.

SSD offers custom software development to help organizations automate tasks, improve productivity, reduce errors and enhance customer service. We can also help you determine whether updating or rewriting a legacy application is the best course of action. Let us make sure you have the software tools you need to operate efficiently, meet your business goals and keep customers happy.