Ihor
Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant

10 Risks of Keeping a Legacy Software

#Tech label

In many cases, the migration of old systems is postponed because the operation is considered too costly. Also, it is assumed that the process will be long and uncomfortable. However, the risks of maintaining legacy software are multiple and high. However, complicated the chances, there is always a strong reason for each company owner to make the migration. If you are a company owner who has decided to migrate your company’s computer system, you must understand the risks.

Your Company Depends on Legacy Platform

It is not uncommon for legacy software to work only in a legacy environment. We have found that many of the legacy products from companies that still use them do not work on Windows 7 or later versions of this operating system. The security risks of keeping legacy software, in this case, do not stem from the software itself but rather from dependency on the legacy platform that is probably outdated. Here, application modernization options capable of splitting the used application into smaller, more independent parts are required. The use of these options minimizes dependence on the basic platform regarding the updates.

Likely to Run Out of Support

Software providers, sooner or later, decide to terminate support contracts. The immediate consequence of this is that the security problems of that software are no longer detected. As early as 2016, companies using Adobe Central’s legacy document software encountered a printing issue stemming from a Windows security update. This affected the documentary processes of these companies and, in many cases, their profits and productivity. Since then, although it may seem incredible, not all of them have proceeded to the corresponding migration.

Little to No Scalability and Flexibility

The functionalities that a company needs from its software change as the company scales. Therefore that software must be able to grow and develop at the same rate. One of the risks of keeping legacy software is that those products may not adapt or expand to meet new business needs.

A widespread case is that large companies need to make their legacy software compatible with new e-commerce applications. The solution to these incompatibility problems is through migration, although many of them make the mistake of choosing to apply patches or emergency solutions for their legacy software. This may work in the short term, but the fact is that your business needs will continue to evolve, and your systems will not be able to meet them.

Problems with Legal Requirements

Lately, the entry into force of some regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU is on everyone’s lips. You may have noticed, for example, that you are receiving a multitude of emails asking you to accept their privacy policies again. One of the risks of keeping legacy software is that you do not comply with some regulations’ requirements. In this case, non-compliance can cost you a fine. Well, in some situations, there are many other laws that legacy software may be breaking.

You might need to eliminate all these risks from your company. For that, you need help to migrate legacy software quickly and without hassle. By dealing with reliable modernization options, you can make sure all the processes are done correctly.

You Miss Out on Great Features

The new software has a lot of great and useful features. These features were introduced because they provide value. Every business must keep itself up to date with all these new updates or compromise the productivity of their employees. Why wouldn’t a business person want to use a system to get a job done faster, more efficiently, and even cheaper? 

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Today’s systems are even using artificial intelligence to make the job of humans easier than ever. There was a belief that software can never do the job of a man that involves decision making. However, that milestone has been achieved, and the field of IT advances faster than any other industry. If your goal is to do business and make big profits, you have to use all the latest features. 

They may not be much big of a deal for you yet, because you haven’t used them. But once you start using them, you will realize that you can’t operate without them. The new software is not only efficient but also reliable. New features allow you to get the job of hours done in minutes. If you can’t find any such software, you can have one custom-built according to your requirements using all the latest technologies. 

High Costs and Downtime

Old systems are difficult to keep up with. They were built according to old requirements and compatibilities. Now that the world of information technology is much more advanced, these systems feel way too outdated. This software’s proper use barely started two decades ago, but this field evolves so fast that these things look from ancient times. One of the worst things about legacy software is its high maintenance cost. 

You might even have to change their settings every six or twelve months. Besides, there are also other expenses involved to work with this software, which makes them very expensive. 

This high price would have been justified if they were at least as much useful. On the contrary, they are way weaker. This old software increases the downtime of the entire system. As long as the system is down, a business can’t operate. They lose money by seconds when every employee who has to work with that software can’t do his job. 

It also means all related operations have to be put on hold until they are up and running again. It may have been tolerable when it was just maintenance time after a specified time, but they are likely to cause downtime without any prior notice. Sudden downtime halts everything, which could even lose a business its customers if it’s even remotely related to relationship management. 

You can save all that loss and avoid high maintenance costs only by switching from legacy software. They might feel reliable because you have been working with them for a long time, but new systems are designed considering usability. They are developed to make the user don’t need any training to use it, enhancing the experience. 

Vulnerable to Security Threats

Online security threats are increasing every day, and they are becoming more and more powerful. Businesses the most favorite target of hackers because they have a lot to lose. Data, which is the real asset of any business, is easily hacked if it’s not adequately protected. For example, you wouldn’t want anyone to get their hands on the list of your clients. They could easily reach out to them and snatch them away from you. Other than that, your business might have done some studies and built resources on which your long terms goals depend. None of that is safe if you are using legacy software. 

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There are so many threats out there that antivirus and security systems are updated every day to ensure they are never breached. Many businesses even have to acquire system security engineers’ services to keep operating smoothly without any interference. However, even the most skilled security engineer can’t do anything if you keep using old programs. 

The new systems are developed considering the latest threats. They have a built-in strong foundation to make sure no one can crack it. On of top that, little things like data encryption, using the right channels to transfer data, and limiting the access save you from a lot of inside and outside problems. You shouldn’t even rely on your employees with your secrets and access. 

Everyone should only have access to related things, and even their usage is bounded to their job. Furthermore, new systems even allow you to monitor all activities that happen in your system. In case someone does crack your system, you would know where it begin, how it happened, and how to avoid it in the future. Even with all the world’s antiviruses, you are vulnerable to hackers if your core system is outdated. 

Your Competitors Get Ahead of You

It is a competitive market out there, no matter which industry you look at. The competition has been incredibly difficult since the internet took over the world. It gave everyone access to knowledge and resources, which gave way to many startups. All big companies also made full use of these resources and made their businesses more vital than ever. 

The problem is the saturation of almost every market. If you get a unique idea, it has to be one in a million because people are already working on everything. Even if you get something great, you have to execute it correctly before someone might decide to copy it and get in your competition. You have to take on every competitor’s head one, and that is the only way. If you don’t have a lot of money, you have to work smart to keep your place. 

At such a difficult time, you are practically giving away your business to your competitors by using a legacy system. You have to be at the top of your game to beat the ever-increasing and fierce competition. Your customers won’t stay loyal to you if you can’t provide them with quality, fast and cheap service. Software is meant to help you do that. Your competitors are getting the best help possible by using all the new updated technologies while your loyalty to your legacy software is probably pulling you down. 

Other Systems Keep Updating

Even legacy software has to work with other systems to operate. For example, the software must be compatible with the computer’s operating system to properly install and function. However, you might be sticking to your old things, but the world is updating fast. They don’t just update offer new things, but they also end support to the old ones. The renowned Windows XP is a straightforward example that everyone can easily understand. You no longer have this operating system, and its old software won’t work on the new designs. If you have new software, it won’t work on those old operating systems. 

Different software might have to collide with each other for your job. But you can’t get a new program to work with your old system. There is no denying that you can use some tricks to ensure that old programs keep operating even with all the updates. For example, you can install virtual machines and install the outdated systems with the required drivers and managed system. However, it overuses the resources, and it makes an already slow system even slower. Besides, why should a business have to compromise on its work and go through all that trouble? 

You Can’t Properly Use Data

Data is the gold of the twenty-first century. All competitive businesses keep collecting all kinds of data and analyze it to make their operations faster and more efficient. One of the most significant benefits of using data is better decision making. You get to learn a lot about your business that a human eye would have ignored otherwise. Data-centric decisions don’t just go on a hunch but use past knowledge and experience to make a better future. 

While all this might sound enticing, it’s not possible to do it manually. This data is not collected through customer service executives and surveys. The software does this job for you. All new software has features to collect relevant data so you can use it for your business needs. Even analyzing so much is almost impossible. The same tools collect data and make it easy for you to explore it by filtering and segmenting it. The data is represented to you in a graphical and friendly user interface to see patterns that you would have missed by just seeing numbers. Legacy software is depriving you of the opportunity to efficiently utilizing the power of data. 

You get to learn about your business model, operations, marketing, and sales through collected and analyzed data. You see where you are performing well and where you need to improve. If you see that one division has been continuously pulling everyone else down, you would know how to solve its problems. 

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Written by
Ihor Feoktistov
CTO at Relevant
I make sure our clients get the highest code quality and the best tech talent on the market. I am also a Software Engineering Advisor for startups. Let's connect.

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