4 Ways Legacy Systems Challenge Security
June 17, 2019

As technology continues to upgrade and change, many systems that are currently in place in organizations tend to become outdated.

For example, Microsoft recently announced that Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 will be reaching end-of support. This means that Microsoft will no longer be updating and patching security vulnerabilities to these products.

When manufacturers make these announcements, it means that organizations that continue to use outdated systems are using what’s considered to be legacy systems. It’s ultimately up to an organization as to whether or not they want to upgrade their systems but using legacy systems can present several security challenges.

Source: Accenture

Why are legacy systems being used?

It seems like as technology advances, companies should be updating alongside with it to better serve customers and remain competitive. However, there are several reasons why companies would continue to use legacy systems. It can be tough for a business to upgrade their systems, especially when their operations are tailored around them. This can affect data as it can be lost or corrupted. Some companies may not want to update due to the high costs of their current systems not being amortized. As a result, legacy systems can be seen in several industries, opening them up to several security risks.

4 Ways Legacy Systems Are Security Risks

1. Security vulnerabilities: Legacy systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks. When manufacturers end support for their systems, it means they stop updating any security vulnerabilities too. This means that hackers can exploit unpatched vulnerabilities and gain access to your systems. These systems may also lack updated security features necessary to protect data and/or may not support new security software.

2. Lack of talent resources: IT professionals are constantly updating their skills and knowledge so that they can support the latest platforms. As a result, the talent pool of knowledge for legacy systems grows smaller. This can make it harder for you to find the right people to help support your systems. Since legacy systems require more work to maintain, it’s important you have the right experts looking after these systems.

3. Data loss: Legacy systems may not always be compatible with new apps or software, leading to data silos. Research by Snaplogic found that 41% of organizations have critical company data is trapped in legacy systems that cannot be accessed or linked to cloud services, costing organizations approximately $140 million. This can lead to organizations forgetting about data in these systems and system administrators may fail to backup the data or implement necessary security controls to protect it.

4. Compliance issues: Legacy systems put organizations at risk to cyber attacks which can lead to compliance risks. Countries all over the world have implemented privacy standards like GDPR and PIPEDA in response to protecting personal identifiable information. Failing to comply with these standards can lead to penalties and fines if you experience a data breach.

If you are unsure about the security of your legacy systems or have questions about upgrading, contact an expert at Jolera today.

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