With cyber-attacks on the rise, and the pandemic pushing legacy systems to the brink, the question remains: How do organizations retain their existing infrastructure frameworks while modernizing their legacy applications to address contemporary issues?

For instance, the rapid transition to remote work put many businesses in a state of flux. In addition, the instant adoption of online services and skyrocketing Internet usage was another change forcing many companies to rethink and determine how to repurpose their legacy frameworks.

Legacy systems are not designed to meet evolving consumer expectations and demand in the digital era. Yet, modernizing applications is critical in 2021 and beyond. According to Logicalis, 4 out of 10 CIOs believe “complex legacy technology” is the primary obstacle to digital transformation.

Also, companies have to deal with expensive hardware upgrades, a shortage of legacy system skillsets, and outdated mainframes. Why is future-proofing system foundations so necessary?

Well, the move towards large-scale digital systems requires a robust and modern system. Undoubtedly, the cost of maintaining legacy systems is expensive and time-consuming.

Consider Why Legacy Framework Modernization is Vital

Concerning running legacy systems, there isn’t any question that cost is a factor. Legacy systems need software updates, hardware replacements, and consistent maintenance. As organizations modernize their complicated tech stacks, the issue resides in interoperability, integration, silos, and data exchange latency.

Also, capacity is a significant problem. Frequently, legacy systems were not designed to scale infinitely. They were designed for static capacity. However, with rising digital interaction, demand can fluctuate and skyrocket, requiring scalable systems.

Another issue is the shortage of skill sets. Many technology professionals are not focused on learning skills to maintain legacy systems and outdated code. To illustrate, COBOL experts are hard to find.

Last but not least, it’s essential to make data-driven decisions when operating in a world deluged with big data. Companies must remain nimble and agile, which is not possible when using legacy frameworks.

In the digital age, it isn’t easy to get legacy systems to keep up. Invariably, applications must keep retaining a competitive advantage. User-friendly mobile apps are what consumers expect. Companies must embrace disruptors if they wish to survive over the next decade. What’s the solution? Legacy infrastructure modernization.

How Can You Tell When it’s Time to Modernize?

If you have existing legacy frameworks that make it challenging to drive changes or keep your company from meeting its objectives, then it’s time to modernize your systems. Perhaps, you have relied on the same legacy tech stack for the past 10 years and have intended to upgrade. Maybe, you have customized legacy systems critical to company operations but feel too outdated to run your other processes effectively.

We’re not trying to say that legacy is a bad word. Still, it’s critical to determine whether your legacy frameworks are nimble enough to meet digitization expectations. There are times when the most significant barrier to future-proofing an organization is the success with a legacy framework.

It’s crucial to reinvent applications, systems, and processes to remain relevant. Thus, legacy framework modernization is more than a single update or breaking things and replacing them.

What is legacy system modernization? It’s about transforming your systems to meet the demands of digital environments evolving at a rapid clip. It also requires not getting too comfortable with the status quo. If you’re not figuring out how to embrace disruption, you risk getting left behind by your competitors.

How can you tell if you have a legacy framework? Well, a legacy system may comprise an entire IT stack, or it may include frontend and backend hardware. Far from the standard upgrade, legacy framework modernization focuses on changing technologies to ensure they integrate with your tech stack and improve your internal and external processes.

A report from Deloitte found that two-thirds of their respondents believed legacy frameworks do not have the flexibility to remain technology relevant, and they incur expensive technology debt. Are your legacy systems still helpful in terms of digitizing operations?

How to Modernize Legacy Systems

The good news is you don’t have to rip-and-replace your entire IT stack to modernize your systems. You should take a thorough assessment of where changes are needed and decide to embrace technological advancement. Below, we will expand upon three options for modernizing your legacy frameworks:

1. Encapsulation:

This process reuses the primary components of your systems while eliminating legacy code and using APIs to connect them to access layers creating services. Often, legacy systems are inflexible. They then create barriers to business growth and development. Yet, they’re also costly to maintain, driving significant technical debt. While legacy system modernization does require an investment, it also helps organizations to remain relevant. Thus, encapsulation can leverage interface functionality while reducing risk and mitigating overall costs.

It’s crucial to remember that cyber-attacks are skyrocketing. Further, threat actors know many legacy systems are still critical to company operations and are also highly vulnerable. Hackers’ are particularly interested in legacy ERP systems, which cybercriminals can exploit to infiltrate the network.

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack exposed over 300,000 machines still running Windows XP and Windows 8. Would you agree you can no longer afford to hold off on legacy system modernization?

2. Rehosting:

Rehosting is a low-risk approach towards legacy framework modernization. It is a migration of legacy systems either to the cloud, a virtual environment, or replacing existing hardware. Rehosting is also one of the most popular options for enterprise companies that want to modernize without disrupting operations.

Unfortunately, many legacy systems don’t comply with the CCPA, GDPR, or HIPAA regulations. For example, the CCPA mandates how companies use and store data. To keep data safe and meet compliance, organizations must invest in legacy system modernization.

3. Re-platforming:

With re-platforming, you are migrating applications from one platform to a new platform. There are few code changes other than modifying how the app interacts with new databases. For companies that don’t want to modernize too much, re-platforming is an attractive option. Additionally, re-platforming can ensure your applications are better protected against data breaches. It enhances scalability while improving the end-user experience.

In Conclusion

This blog is the first in a two-part series on legacy framework modernization. Remember that encapsulation, rehosting, and re-platforming can work in conjunction depending on your modernization needs. An essential aspect is prioritizing the systems that need more agility and choosing one or all of the approaches above.

This article is the first of a two-part series. View our article, Four More Effective Approaches for Legacy Modernization to learn more.

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