What is Legacy Technology?
Outdated technology or ‘legacy’ technology, is hardware, software or any other type of system or infrastructure that is not the most current and up to date version available.
There are many reasons why business owners choose not to update their legacy technology and embrace digital transformation. Often they are simply unaware of the fact that their systems are outdated, or they may feel as if updating is too much of an expense. Whatever the reason, it’s likely that they will not be aware of all the potential negative effects legacy technology can have on their businesses.
Originally released in 2001, Windows XP has remained a popular choice of operating system for all manner of users worldwide.
It wasn’t until 2011 when Windows announced it would no longer be providing security updates to the OS, that concerns around its legacy status were raised.
Without security updates, users can no longer guarantee the complete security of the devices they are using.
If you are handling sensitive data, client information or any other digital assets that need to be protected, then this is a real problem.
How Popular is Windows XP Still?
Despite the now unsupported status of XP, in 2017 the operating system was still the third most popular in the world. (1)
Clearly, XP is still being used on a mass scale despite being no longer supported by Microsoft.
What can we take from this? Even some of the most popular technology choices in the world are outdated and can potentially harm businesses.
In Window XP’s case, its continued use has quite famously negatively impacted businesses who have failed to embrace digital transformation.
Wannacry Cyber Attack – 2017
In 2017, cyber criminals targeted 40 NHS organisations including hospitals and GP surgeries using ransomware in order to hold patient data to ransome.
It is estimated that 90 percent of NHS Trusts in the UK were still using Windows XP at the time, which left them particularly vulnerable to the use of malware.
It goes without doubt that the legacy technology still in place at the time of the attack gave the attackers an advantage and played a pivotal part in the event.
If the NHS had been using up to date and supported operating systems at the time, then they would have been much more protected from this type of attack which resulted in just short of 7,000 patient appointments being cancelled.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
Knowing when it’s time to update your systems is not easy. Without knowledge in IT, you may not be aware of the warning signs that your technologies are reaching legacy status.
Connected World is dedicated to helping business within the UK understand where their own systems, infrastructure and technologies are failing and succeeding. We are digital transformation experts, having helped many UK businesses.
In the case of the NHS, keeping operating systems up to date would have ensured they remained as protected from this type of attack as possible and since the attack, the NHS has signed a contract with Microsoft to upgrade all operating systems to Windows 10.