Risks of using Legacy Software - Palladium

Are you relying on legacy software to run your business?

Using legacy software puts business data and effectiveness at risk. Stephen Corrigan, CEO of Palladium Business Solutions, says: “Old technology just isn’t built for the flexibility that today’s business demands, yet there are solutions available on the market currently that still use legacy technology in their architecture, putting their customers at risk.”

So, if software vendors are not being open and transparent about the technology they use, how do you tell if the software you are using is a legacy solution? The eight tell-tale signs you need to look out for are:

  1. Needs to backup before updating transactions

Forced backups are a sign that the software is inherently unstable. Legacy systems need to backup data before updating transactions to try to prevent data loss or data corruption. This is simply unheard of in modern-day solutions.

ERPs built on modern technology don’t require intermittent backups because data is stored in relational databases, with intelligent updating routines and integrated data integrity functionality.

“If your accounting software or ERP requires a backup for processing transactions, ask yourself: ‘If the software creator doesn’t trust the stability of their own product, should I trust them with my data?'” says Corrigan.

  1. Can’t ensure data security

Running legacy software or solutions that use legacy technology makes it difficult for IT departments to protect business-critical data against loss or theft because these systems generally require users to have full administrator rights to access the database. This leaves data vulnerable with every user able to open, copy, amend or delete it. “There’s absolutely no database security whatsoever,” says Corrigan.

In terms of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, this creates a compliance issue for businesses as they will simply be unable to protect customer or supplier information. POPI demands that businesses and individuals take responsibility for the protection and privacy of data they collect and process, and databases that aren’t secure make them vulnerable to legal and financial penalties when data is leaked or lost.

  1. Your data gets corrupted

The integrity of data is vital to business continuity. Data stored or processed on legacy-based software is prone to corruption, impacting not only on productivity, but also the bottom-line. Modern databases are designed with rollback capabilities, ensuring an all-or-nothing update function is adopted, as opposed to the best-effort update scenario associated with their legacy counterparts.

  1. Can’t handle large volumes of data

“The chances are that 90% of your business data was created in the past two years. Legacy software solutions with their simple structure databases were not designed for handling the volumes of data being created and processed by businesses today,” he says.

“If your software takes too long to process requests, crashes often, then it’s probably running off a legacy database that can’t handle large quantities of data.”

The reason these legacy software solutions are just not cutting it anymore is that they use databases that use flat file, or simple, database technology. Flat file databases only use a single table of data, and are just not capable of handling large volumes of data or processing it, making it an inflexible technology that puts data at risk of corruption.

Corrigan recommends a software solution that harnesses the power of relational databases, which contains multiple tables of data that relate to each other, allowing the user greater integrity and control over their data.

  1. Still uses 32-bit technology

Older software is designed to only run in 32-bit environments, and while they may be installed on newer 64-bit operating systems, they aren’t designed to keep up with the speed and functionality of these machines, resulting in instability.

A tell-tale sign of using 32-bit software is that it frequently lags, freezes or crashes when performing a function.

“The easiest way to check if your software is developed using 64-bit technology is to check whether it is Windows 10 compliant, as this certification is only available to solutions supporting 64-bit environments,” he advises.

  1. Uses unsupported programming languages

Legacy software poses many problems because of its age. Often the technology to develop the software has been discontinued and, more importantly, is no longer supported by the vendor. This means security updates are no longer being developed or issued, and is one of the reasons why so many businesses fall foul to ransomware attacks.

These dated or discontinued programming languages not only stop the software developers from adding new features, but also prohibits them from integrating with newer tools and technologies.

An example cited by Corrigan is that Microsoft last updated its Visual Basic Programming language (Version 6) in 1999 and discontinued support for it on 31 March 2005. “That’s two years before the first iPhone was released, yet many companies still use this technology for mission-critical accounting and payroll solutions.”

  1. Can’t run on wireless networks

Older software is designed to work with outdated cabled networks. In today’s work environment, this causes a problem on two fronts, ie, mobility and productivity. Most businesses have migrated away from cabled company networks, with laptops becoming the standard work device, allowing users more flexibility and mobility as the device can move with them. They are able to continue working without needing to connect physically to the network.

  1. Can’t run in the cloud or be used remotely

Legacy software was built for a very different business market, one where computers were tethered to a location, data was stored on site and used a physical company network. With legacy software, there’s no ability to connect to the company network remotely or to host data in the cloud without the use of third-party terminal emulation software.

A recent cloud security report by Intel Security, “Building trust in a cloudy sky: The state of cloud adoption and security”, said by the end of 2018, 80% of IT budgets would be used on cloud applications and solutions. With businesses and IT putting more priority on cloud-based solutions, legacy solutions that can’t live in or access the cloud will impact on workflow and efficiency. In the age of the mobile workforce, this is simply not acceptable.

Corrigan concludes: “If you’re experiencing any of these eight signs, the odds are that your software solution has legacy components. The best way to protect your business and data is to switch to a solution that uses the latest database and framework technology to ensure users’ ability to work is not hampered while ensuring data is completely secure and companies remain compliant to the latest data privacy and protection regulations.”

Credit: This article was written by Alison Job for ITWeb.co.za, you can read the original article at http://www.itweb.co.za/company/palladiumbusinesssolutions/