The Hidden Security Risks of Legacy Software

Upgrading old software is often a painful and costly process. But deferring those upgrades could be potentially catastrophic for your business.

Exhibit A: Internet Explorer 6 – a product that was released in 2001, more than a decade ago. Today, more than 6 percent of Internet users worldwide (22 percent in China) continue to browse the web with this program that was once derided as “the least secure software on the planet” (and those words were written six years ago).

In the enterprise, the picture looks even worse. As recently as 2009, a Forrester Research study found that 60 percent of businesses were still using Internet Explorer 6.

The story of Internet Explorer 6 is really a parable for legacy software in general. Why do users and organizations persist in using legacy software for so long? Why do the risks of using legacy software increase over time? And what can be done to mitigate these risks? (But before we answer those questions, please take a moment to make sure you are not reading this article with Internet Explorer 6!)