Strengthening the Weak Links - Legacy Systems


18 October 2023

Cyber Security


Did you know that legacy systems may add to cybersecurity risks? Not only can a legacy system hold a company back from its full potential, but they can add to cybersecurity risks.

Understanding Legacy Systems

A legacy system is an outdated technology platform or software application that is still used by an organisation. The systems have been in use at an organisation for a long period of time but are now faced with a range of challenges, from security vulnerabilities to compliance risks. Upgrading legacy systems is a crucial step for organisations seeking to maintain efficiency and security in today's digital world. This blog will discuss legacy systems, the risks, and challenges, and explore an efficient approach to software modernisation known as the like-for-like replacement. Additionally, this blog will include future-proofing strategies to help direct legacy systems.

Outdated legacy systems are usually branded by old hardware, outdated programming languages, and outdated database management systems. Legacy systems can be associated with many risks and challenges because typically the system is used for a long period of time and is no longer supported by the vendor or manufacturer.

Risks and Challenges of Legacy Systems

  • Security Vulnerabilities: Legacy systems are more susceptible to security vulnerabilities and attacks because they are not designed to handle modern security threats. They lack necessary security features and updates to protect against cyber-attacks.

  • Vendor Abandonment: Many legacy systems are no longer supported by vendors, meaning they don't receive security updates and patches, leaving organisations exposed to risks.

  • Obsolete Authentication: Legacy systems may lack modern authentication and authorisation mechanisms, such as two-factor authentication, making them susceptible to unauthorised access.

  • Inadequate Logging and Monitoring: Older systems may not provide robust logging and monitoring capabilities, making it difficult to detect and respond to security incidents.

  • Data Encryption: Legacy systems may not support strong data encryption, leaving sensitive information at risk.

  • Skills Gap: Finding personnel with expertise in legacy systems can additionally be difficult, leading to potential gaps in security knowledge.

The Like-for-Like Approach

One practical solution to address the challenges of legacy systems is the like-for-like replacement. This approach involves replacing the older, outdated system with a new one designed to perform the same core functions and tasks as the existing system. The primary goal is to modernise technology without altering essential features and capabilities. This allows for organizations to continue their business operations while benefiting from updated technology and security measures. An example of a like-for-like approach is a legacy system update WorkingMouse did with the Department of Defence. Read more about how we implemented a like-for-like approach for the Department of Defence and the toolset we used.

Trackerbot Project Before and After

Future-Proofing Strategies

While the like-for-like replacement is an ideal solution, modernising legacy systems can be a costly and lengthy process. Here are some future-proofing strategies to consider implementing regardless.

  • Comprehensive Risk Assessment: Begin with a thorough risk assessment to identify vulnerabilities and potential threats associated with legacy systems.

  • Data Preservation: Develop a strategy for migrating critical data and preserving its integrity during the transition.

  • Cloud Solutions: Explore cloud-based solutions for hosting legacy applications securely, benefiting from robust security features.

  • Security Layers: Implement security layers, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and data encryption, to enhance legacy systems security.

  • Employee Training Invest in training and awareness programs to ensure employees understand security risks and best practices.

  • Regular Audits: Conduct periodic security audits and assessments to identify emerging risks and vulnerabilities.


In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for success. Although legacy systems are the foundation for many organisations, they come with inherent risks and challenges that are important to address. Implementing a like-for-like solution and implementing future-proofing strategies allow for businesses to navigate the path to modernisation successfully, all while maintaining security and ensuring long-term efficiency for growth. WorkingMouse specialise in software modernisation and legacy systems, click here to see what we're capable of. However, replacing a legacy system is easier said than done, with one of the most popular barriers to modernisation being low priority compared to other initiatives. Which is why, regardless, it is crucial that companies implement future-proofing strategies.

How we empower departments and enterprises



Jessica Montgomery

Junior Marketer and Formula 1 lover


Your vision,

our expertise

Book a chat