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The legacy system time bomb

I was looking at the list of issues to be discussed at the forthcoming networking event IP-06 and one of them is “migrating from legacy systems”. This got me thinking about recent comments I read by Ian Kilpatrick, director at security distributor Wick Hill, about security and legacy systems.

According to Kilpatrick, “legacy systems are resilient and cost effective but they were never designed for today’s security needs”.

Those old enough to remember the 1998-1999 era of the Millennium bug might find some parallels between how legacy systems were viewed then and how they are viewed now.

When it comes to critical applications companies often go by the law “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. After all, why get hardware updates and software patches if everything is else staying the same.

That is exactly the reasoning that Mr. Kilpatrick disputes. The combined threat of computer viruses, hackers, worms and other malware is at least as great as the problems associated with the Y2K bug.

IT administrators were criticised for being lax when it came to preparing their computers for the Millennium bug but this time around, there’s no deadline to stick to, but rather a long-winded nervy battle with an enemy that has no name.

Failing to upgrade your staff training and computer networks to meet 2006/2007 security levels could seriously affect your business.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.