The scale of the task facing companies trying to get hold of their customer data has been exposed by a new study which reveals that nearly all companies (89%) are keeping legacy systems alive just to ensure they can retain access to historical data, even though they admit this leaves them wide open to security threats and potential breaches of GDPR.
The research, commissioned by Macro 4, questioned IT decision makers in UK enterprises about the challenges associated with decommissioning obsolete legacy applications and the problems of running them indefinitely on “life support” solely to access historical data.
One of the main issues is security, with 87% of those surveyed agreeing that legacy applications are more vulnerable to security threats, while 82% recognise that these systems are rarely compatible with modern security and authentication methods.
Another issue is compliance. Some 84% agree that it is harder to accurately track and control access to sensitive data on legacy systems in line with stricter data privacy regulations such GDPR.
Macro 4 director of commercial and technical Jim Allum said: “It creates a huge burden, especially where companies are running dozens or even hundreds of legacy applications – which is surprisingly common.
“On older systems some security vulnerabilities are harder – or even impossible – to resolve. If available at all, patches for new threats could be delayed because legacy apps are considered less of a priority
“As legacy applications pre-date the latest security innovations there is a clear security risk to having a lot of legacy within your application portfolio.”
“It’s therefore important to manage the end of life process carefully, just like any other stage of the application lifecycle. You should aim to move the data away from obsolete applications and into a content repository where business users can continue to access it, so that the original application can be retired. At the same time you should adopt a repeatable decommissioning process that will work for any legacy application you choose to retire.”
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