Legacy systems [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6], referring to outdated computer hardware and software [2] [6], can pose significant cybersecurity risks and hinder productivity if not properly maintained and protected.


Legacy systems [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6], which include outdated computer hardware and software [2] [6], can cause productivity issues and pose serious cybersecurity risks if not properly maintained and protected. When manufacturers stop supporting these systems [3], security vulnerabilities are magnified [3], making it easier for hackers to gain unauthorized access to buildings, networks [1] [3] [4], applications [3] [5], and databases [1] [3]. Legacy systems may also lack the ability to support up-to-date innovations required for security and compliance [3], leading to data silos and hindering decision-making. Non-compliance with privacy standards like GDPR can result in significant penalties and fines [3]. Additionally, legacy systems fall short in meeting compliance requirements in an increasingly connected world [3]. Using legacy technologies as a security solution in today’s environment enables security breaches [3]. Mitigation strategies include conducting regular reviews of the identity store to remove inactive accounts [2] [6], implementing comprehensive identity and access management strategies [6], and regularly reviewing and modernizing processes to address current threats. Legacy data [2] [6], which is outdated or obsolete information [2] [6], can also be a cybersecurity risk as it may lack encryption or other access controls [6], making it vulnerable to data breaches [6]. Organizations should regularly review their data to determine its relevance and prioritize updating high-value datasets [2] [6]. Best practices for securing data in legacy systems include identifying sensitive data [4], applying encryption and access control [4], and updating and patching software [4]. Isolating and monitoring network traffic and migrating to modern platforms when possible are additional measures that can be taken to enhance security. Security information and event management (SIEM) and open extended detection and response (Open XDR) can help address the challenges of securing old systems [5]. Vulnerability scanning can identify legacy devices and ensure they are properly secured [5]. An end-to-end embedded security and observability platform can provide runtime protection for legacy devices [5]. Many organizations still rely on legacy systems to store and process their data [4], including operating systems [1] [5], manufacturing equipment [5], and software in IoT and embedded devices [5]. Around 74% of manufacturing and engineering companies continue to use legacy systems [5]. However, using legacy systems poses significant cybersecurity risks [3] [5], but many organizations cannot afford to update or replace them due to hardware and software incompatibility [5], poor security visibility [5], and integration difficulties [5]. Therefore, it is important to identify and update or replace legacy systems to minimize cybersecurity risks [2] [6]. Regularly reviewing and modernizing processes [2] [6], securing data [4], and implementing comprehensive identity and access management strategies are crucial steps in mitigating these risks and improving overall security. Legacy systems may become incompatible with new operating systems and lack necessary updates and patches [1], leaving them vulnerable to breaches [1] [6]. The Equifax breach and the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest system failure are examples of the consequences of not maintaining legacy systems [1]. Additionally, the lack of documentation and understanding of these systems by IT teams can hinder their ability to protect and evolve them [1]. Legacy systems may also suffer from a lack of developer familiarity and outdated software architecture [1], making them unable to support modern workforce needs [1]. The complexity of multiple systems cobbled together without a clear architecture can create security vulnerabilities [1]. Legal [1], technological [1] [3], and operational factors contribute to the growing vulnerabilities associated with legacy systems [1]. Regulatory changes [1], such as the New York Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Regulation and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation [1], demand higher standards for data protection and security [1], potentially requiring companies to redesign their systems [1]. Proposed changes to cybersecurity and data privacy laws in various states further strain legacy systems [1]. Companies must critically assess the viability of legacy systems and consider legal liabilities in the event of a breach [1]. Migrating legacy systems to newer technologies requires a balance between cost and incremental fixes [1]. Lawyers play a crucial role in understanding the legal liabilities and risks associated with legacy systems and the migration to new systems [1].


Legacy systems can have significant impacts on productivity and cybersecurity. However, by implementing mitigation strategies such as regular reviews, comprehensive identity and access management [6], and securing data [4], organizations can minimize these risks. It is crucial to identify and update or replace legacy systems to ensure compatibility with new operating systems and to address vulnerabilities. The consequences of not maintaining legacy systems can be severe, as seen in past breaches and system failures. The complexity and lack of documentation surrounding these systems further contribute to their risks. Regulatory changes and proposed cybersecurity and data privacy laws add to the challenges faced by legacy systems. Companies must carefully consider the viability of their legacy systems and the legal liabilities associated with them. Migrating to newer technologies requires a balanced approach that considers cost and incremental fixes. Lawyers play a vital role in understanding the legal implications and risks involved in the migration process [1].


[1] https://businesslawtoday.org/2018/03/whats-lurking-back-there-cybersecurity-risks-in-legacy-systems/
[2] https://www.darkreading.com/vulnerabilities-threats/securing-your-legacy-identities-data-and-processes
[3] https://bioconnect.com/2021/12/08/five-reasons-legacy-systems-fail-security/
[4] https://www.linkedin.com/advice/0/what-best-practices-securing-data-legacy-systems
[5] https://itwire.com/business-it-sp-511/business-it/the-challenges-of-securing-legacy-devices-and-how-to-do-it-more-effectively.html
[6] https://www.threatshub.org/blog/securing-your-legacy-identities-data-and-processes/