We all have our favourite set of tools that we use to complete tasks in the workplace, and our preferred way of completing those tasks. The problem is that those tools, and ways of working, that have allowed us to successfully complete our work tasks on time and to a good standard, will eventually get to a point where they need replacing with either a newer version of the same tool (if available) or a brand new tool that performs the same function.
You may have come to – or be approaching – the point at which you are confident enough to take your business to the next level through growth and perhaps a change in the way you offer service to your clients. Unfortunately, this may not be possible if you have no way of advancing from the outdated application or database on which your business operates.
It is counterproductive to continue to use tools that are already at the ‘end of life’ or even ones that are approaching it. The vendor will have stopped (or is in the process of stopping) support and updates for the tool, meaning it is not just inefficient to use them but also unsafe on a cyber security perspective too.
Don’t be concerned. There are ways to remedy this problem and still achieve the levels of success you enjoyed with the tools you loved using. In the following two articles we are going to explore what a Legacy application is, what makes them legacy, and what challenges come from using them.
Legacy Applications – what are they?
A Legacy Application is a system that has a vital purpose to your organisation but is using outdated – and potentially unsafe – technology to do so.
‘Legacy’ in computing terms means something different than you may think – as much as your old vital tools will leave a legacy behind when they reach the end of life, this isn’t quite what it means. Legacy in computing refers to a dated computer system, application, or IT infrastructure that is still being used and serves purpose, but crucially is outdated and has been superseded.
“It is still working so it must not be legacy” is one of the most common statements we hear. Let’s discredit that theory now.
Apps become legacy when:
The operating system vendor ceases support
Sometimes a software programme that is designed to only operate on a specific operating system version becomes a Legacy application. There are a variety of different reasons for this but, most predominantly, the main reason is because the operating system or infrastructure which the application resides within may no longer have support, which in turn opens the door to viruses and cyber security issues.
You have chosen not to upgrade
When everything is going well, it is entirely understandable that businesses don’t want anything to change anything – why change a winning formula? The only problem with this is that when the latest version of an application comes out it gets ignored. Programmes like Sage, for example, often undergo costly, frequent updates – because of this most businesses don’t update each time and instead stick to the old (Legacy) version that is no longer capable of effectively achieving its purpose.
There is no newer version available
It is not often the case but sometimes a software vendor – for whatever reason – simply stops operating, or they stop supporting a particular app that you happen to use as an essential tool to help your business to success. This could be for any reason; it could be that the app is too niche (perhaps you managed to find value where most couldn’t), or simply that the app hasn’t had the commercial success that the vendor anticipated.
Every app needs continuous support from the vendor, because, as we have already mentioned, not having that support can lead to it not being secure from cyber threats. Continuous use of that app could lead to serious deterioration of your processes and services, causing a stunt in the growth of your business, meaning not only the app but also your business processes will be stuck in time.
Having Legacy applications in your organisation is not unheard of – no matter how careful you are they can still exist without your knowledge. Perhaps your team used to use an app that simply fell out of favour for most but some still get value from it – that app may be Legacy if it is being used but has not been updated or supported for some time. It is highly recommended that you check your apps frequently and map out a plan to drive your business forward with modern, capable, supported applications which have the power to revolutionise your business in its entirety.
If you are concerned that your essential apps are going Legacy, or perhaps you aren’t quite sure and need a helping hand, we are here to help. We will take our time getting to know your business and the way it ticks to be sure that – through the correct consultancy – we guide you round the problem with as little effect to the day to day running of the business as possible whilst ensuring you still [get the most possible from the tools at your disposal](https://www.armco-it.co.uk/our-services/compute/system-support). In the following article we will explore the operational and technical challenges of using Legacy applications.
Armco IT: IT Support and Managed Services for Businesses Across York, North and East Yorkshire
There’s nothing we love more than seeing Yorkshire businesses flourish by harnessing the power of IT. Our team of dedicated engineers stands ready to help you overcome any technical challenge and deliver tailored solutions that help your business meet its goals and growth ambitions. From our base in Malton, we deliver proactive IT support and services across York, North and East Yorkshire. We have a strong track record in delivering impactful IT to clients across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, design and insurance, among many others. We focus on maintaining, optimising and securing your digital estate, so you can focus on the growth and success of your business. Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.