In our previous article we took a close look at Legacy applications and discovered what they are, and how your apps become Legacy. Let’s now take a look at the challenges they pose in the modern world of work, both operationally and technically.
The operational challenges
A lack of modern practice
In the modern world of work, technology is always evolving, compliance regulations are always updating. Along with them operational practices seem to change on a daily basis and the way in which we work is continually becoming easier and far more efficient. By using Legacy applications – no matter how forward thinking your ethos and values are as a business – you are living in the past, because not installing updates leaves gaps that don’t allow your workforce to achieve their potential and use their time effectively, or even worse could lead to mistakes in the workflow.
Lack of knowledge around the app
It is likely that implementation of the Legacy app took place a fair while ago – this means that it is now possible that any experience or expertise around it will be practically non-existent. In today’s workplace, the average age of work teams is becoming younger, and a lot of those younger team members will likely have never heard of the app let alone have used it to its full potential. Using a Legacy app could come around and bite you in the long run – it is possible that the day may come when one of your team are leaving or retiring and you have no one to teach the next generation how to use the tools that have been a staple part of your business for years.
A lack of support
As explained, Legacy apps are often no longer supported and therefore won’t reap the benefits of updates. Updates are predominantly enjoyed for their improvements of functionality and the fact that they usually bring about free new features to your tools, but this isn’t all they do – they also fix stability issues, bugs, and the security vulnerabilities which the app has developed over time, meaning that the app is safe to use again once the update has been implemented. This protection is your barrier from cyber criminality; without it you become a target for cyber criminals whilst simultaneously making your team’s workday more difficult due to a lack of functionality.
Lack of integration
Legacy apps lack process automation completely. In the modern age automation is integral to running a successful organisation – your competition will have no problem leaving you behind, stuck with dated manually-driven processes that are time consuming and a poor waste of your team’s time.
Lack of compliance
Using Legacy applications also makes it impossible to guarantee legal compliance. Arguably the main governing body (GDPR) states that you must use the current supported software when storing and processing personal identifiable information. When knowingly using Legacy apps you are not behaving compliantly, and leaving sensitive data in apps that aren’t the latest version could leave you subject to the full extent of the law.
Lack of remote access
The modern world is largely a remote one. In days past we saw remote working as a luxury reserved for the top executives of a company, but now it has become normal service for all since business owners realised the benefits that are possible when it is done effectively. That remote working needs access to data and tools that allow them to complete their work tasks efficiently, but those Legacy apps you rely on in the workplace can be difficult to make available to those in a remote work setting, not to mention very costly. Legacy apps have the power to make remote working an impossibility.
The technical challenges
Lack of infrastructural support
The IT infrastructure in which your legacy applications reside can limit your abilities. There will come a time when your IT infrastructure needs to be renewed – this could be due to any manner of reasons (hopefully for a positive reason like the need for more IT assets). But, whatever that reason may be, if you have apps that are integral to your team enjoying a productive workday, what will you do if your IT can’t run them anymore? Stop working? Of course not. You will need to find alternative ways of working and tools to use – it is better to do that before you are forced to so to give yourself time to prepare and choose the right solution for you and your team.
Lack of security
When support is withdrawn patches stop. Cyber security should be at the top of business concerns in the modern age, and once patches stop the risk of cyber attack rises exponentially and the app is simply unable to defend itself. When this happens your data is at risk, which then starts a ripple effect, jeopardising your compliance, operational abilities, reputation amongst your client base, and ultimately the very survival of the entire organisation.
Lack of backup
Effective backup is important. The abilities to restore data and maintain continuity of operations are integral in today’s world. Businesses can’t afford to stop operating even for a mere day or they they risk losing their client base. If a problem arose that stopped you working, whatever it may be, you will have no way of accessing backups of your data elsewhere, meaning that you will have to cease operations and – as we just said – potentially lose your client base forever.
Don’t use Legacy apps – they aren’t worth your time – use updated versions wherever possible.
Armco IT: IT Support and Managed Services for Businesses Across York, North and East Yorkshire
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