CIOS and the Challenge of Legacy Systems

by | Mar 18, 2024 | Risk, Security, Software

Legacy systems are like an old pair of slippers. They may be comfy and familiar, but after a while their soles will wear out and they will be out of style. If you don’t get a new pair, your feet may become injured.

The risks an old pair of slippers presents are minimal compared to what a legacy system can do to a company. It can lead to security issues, a lack of productivity, and inefficient operations. It can cause an organization to fall behind the competition negatively affecting entire corporations.

As a CIO, it’s your responsibility to keep systems updated. Read on to learn about the challenges of legacy systems and how to ensure your company is keeping up with today’s technology trends.

What are Legacy Systems?

Legacy systems are outdated platforms companies use for business. They may have once served as a vibrant backbone for the organization, but they have become outdated after years of use. They may no longer be supported by vendors or manufacturers.

Many companies continue using legacy systems because they are comfortable using them, and they don’t want to disrupt their business by changing them out. However, these systems pose countless risks. They slow down business processes, and cost companies more money in the long run.

What Risks are Associated with Legacy Systems?

Legacy systems pose countless risks. However, some solutions will keep your organization up to date and forgo the need to change the entire system. Here are some to consider.

Security Risks

Many legacy systems are not updated to meet modern security threats.  They make companies vulnerable to cyberattacks that can compromise sensitive information, damage their equipment, and lead to significant shutdowns.

A CIO can reduce security risks with regular updates and patches. They may also consider investing in tools that add protection to existing devices.

Inefficient Operations

Legacy systems often run slowly. They can lead to inefficient operations that cost businesses time and money.

Companies can make systems more efficient by integrating new technologies. The updates will streamline workflows, increase productivity, and lower the cost of doing business.

Increased Maintenance

As systems get older, they break down more often. Their components are harder to find, and therefore more costly. They cost businesses money in repairs and downtime.

Businesses can avoid expensive maintenance by gradually migrating to newer technology. They must keep a log of their hardware and software, so they are prepared for maintenance issues. They can make seamless transitions as necessary.

Integration Challenges

Organizations can solve the issues presented by a legacy system by integrating new technology. However, custom coding and other costly resources are often needed for seamless integration.

Middleware or APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) may be ideal solutions. They will streamline communication between legacy systems and new technology. They will minimize the need for custom coding and other expensive resources.

Compliance Issues

Legacy systems may not meet updated compliance regulations like CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). They can cause companies thousands of dollars in fines. They can damage the organization’s reputation.

Companies must ensure compliance by conducting regular audits. They must identify gaps in their system and address them. They may need to migrate to new systems or add additional technology that ensures they are up to date with the latest compliance regulations.

Types of Legacy System Migration

The risks of legacy systems make migration necessary. Three types of legacy system migration will help your organization handle the transformation smoothly. They include:


Also called the lift and shift method, this solution involves moving a legacy system to a new hardware environment or cloud platform without changing its code or functions. It’s a fast and cost-effective option. However, it does not address the system’s underlying issues.


Refactoring involves making small changes to a system without altering its external functionality. It allows legacy systems to adapt to new cloud-based environments while minimizing disruptions. It improves performance and reduces expenses.


Rearchitecting involves making major changes to the system so the organization can optimize new technologies and platforms. It requires altering codes for improved performance and scalability that align with modern systems. It ensures your applications will be responsive to changing demands.

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Additional Resources

From Legacy Systems to Hyperautomation: How IT Leaders Can Modernize Their IT Structure

Why Replacing Legacy Systems with a Cloud Solution is Now Mission Critical

5 Costs of Legacy ERP: Why Legacy ERP May Actually Be Costing You More


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