Legacy System: Why do companies keep using them?
A legacy system is a computer system, programming language, software application, process or other technology that is outdated or that can no longer receive support and maintenance but is essential for organizations or companies and cannot be replaced or updated easily for different reasons:
- The durability of this equipment can be up to 20 years as its high costs take several years to be amortized.
- Many business processes have been tailor-made, becoming critical and fundamental for the business performance.
- The operational risk of some updates may be too high, especially if key data can be lost or corrupted.
- The software may contain some important business rules not mentioned or noted in any other document.
- There is rarely, if ever, a complete specification of the legacy systems which makes it impossible to specify a new one that is functionally identical.
- People often fear the unknown. If something works, it is better not to change it, even if there are better solutions in the market.
As a result, legacy systems are everywhere: energy, manufacturing, transport and insurance companies, hospitals or banks, among other, use them.
But…What are the risks or what problems does the use of these systems involve?
- Although they still work, they are increasingly unstable due to compatibility failures with new OS, browsers or structures.
- They cannot be used forever; at some point the company must update the hardware, the language, the OS or the application.
- Nobody gets to know them 100%. Due to its long useful life they pass from hand to hand, different programming languages are used and the documentation is never fully updated.
- The more patches they have, the more susceptible they will be to security breaches.When the support or maintenance of the manufacturers ends, attention to errors is stopped.
- Throughout the years, the performance is slower and lower, the consumption of resources is higher and failures are more frequent, all this reduces efficiency and productivity.
- Several compatibility issues: applications linked to obsolete OS versions or languages, incompatibility with new technologies and cloud or web-based services, etc.
In the past, the difficulty of replacing them along with the serious risks involved, led companies to stagnation, unable to solve the dilemma. This situation created the ideal conditions for the perfect storm to occur and attracted cyber attackers who knew that relevant or fundamental parts of the business were patched or that systems were connected to networks that did not exist when they were developed.
Is there anything that can be done about this?
The good news is that this will no longer be a problem since in Randed we have found the solution to this great dilemma: RITech. The technology that allows companies to continue using their legacy systems without taking any risk.
It is important to note that when we talk about antiquity, we are not referring to its “age” necessarily. It is defined by the discrepancy between the state of what is current and the state of what the legacy system is offering.