Some aspects that make legacy systems risky include unpatched software, hard-coded passwords and the inability to fund repairs.
If your software is using an old operating system, such as Windows XP or DOS, it is likely the manufacturer is no longer supporting that version. This means your software will not receive the upgrades and protection it needs to run smoothly. It could leave you exposed to viruses, faults and even hackers. Attending to repairs of old systems can result in the loss of hours of work as you try to resolve complications. It’s an inconvenience you don’t want to endure.
If the software is custom built and was written in-house, the original developers may have moved on a long time ago, meaning there’s no longer anybody around to do the work.
Investing in new software and technologies makes sense because technology has made tremendous leaps, allowing for massive improvements across scalability, speed, security and convenience for both your staff and your customers.
Investing money into old systems – that, on the surface, appear to be working fine – can be a harder sell. But the longer these legacy systems are neglected and delayed, the more it is going to cost your business over time.
Consider making a business case for the time, inconvenience and financial cost the security risk of an old system could pose. Can your business really afford to violate compliance, breach security standards and pay the ongoing costs to maintain the legacy system?
As your business grows and processes become more intricate, you may find that legacy systems no longer meet the needs of your workplace.
While older software was useful when only five employees were around, that same system may not be able to handle multiple users logging in simultaneously.
If you now need to scale operations to support new business or manage several lines of business or multi-site locations, it is likely that you’ll need to upgrade your system or face loss of productivity and, quite possibly, profit.
It’s important to recognise the value of software as an integral part of your business process.
Just because you need to upgrade to a new system, it doesn’t mean business has to stop.
There are a number of ways new systems can be rolled out, depending on the needs of your business. Companies can choose to switch from their old system to a new one immediately, adopting the change instantly. But a more gentle and sustainable approach might be to gradually merge the old system with the new over a period of time. That way, users can become familiar with the new software program as they move away from an old system.
In some cases, legacy systems are so complex that they can’t be completely replaced and core legacy components need to stay put. In this scenario, a software life extension plan can be designed, giving you a clear path to future replacement of your legacy components and a current solution to extend its longevity. Newer software can be developed to work around your existing legacy system and create workarounds to negate any technical risks.
At inoutput, we help SMEs, government and enterprises review existing legacy systems and can create a tailored risk assessment. This involves investigating the software’s system components, identifying how they interact together, testing each component’s openness and researching the technical longevity within your business. We then provide a breakdown of your current system state, any technical risks we perceive and recommendations on how to move forward.
We are well versed at integrating many pieces of legacy software. Whether it is a custom DOS solution, an unmaintained Informix database or a disparate collection of CSV files, we can communicate and collate this data and package it elegantly for other systems to consume.
Contact us to find out how we can help you secure the future of your business system.
Posted by Chris Rickard
Fri, 15 Apr 2016
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