Almost every organisation has legacy applications. Those on-premise custom built apps that have been around forever have a bit of character, but are these old apps bad for your business?

In this article we discuss the 6 key challenges facing legacy applications and the impact this can have on your business.


The first challenge to consider is security. Sometimes legacy applications can be 20+ years old. These systems were not built with the same security standards as we use now and the risk of old logins or back doors into the system remains high.

If your system wasn’t built with the latest approaches including: Defence in depth, user based permissions or Multi Factor Authentication then this can be a problem and a proper risk assessment is needed.


Getting into legacy on-premise applications can be a challenge. Especially when working remotely, with today’s shift to remote working, having core business applications that are not available or difficult to access for the majority of your employees is not great.

In order to access a legacy application you regularly have to use third party solutions such as desktop virtualisation or VPN solutions but can also provide a more challenging user experience.


Reliability is one of the biggest risks with legacy applications. What happens if it fails, breaks or stops working? Can your business go without this system for a period of time? Do you have the knowledge and capability to fix and get the app back up and running?


There are many levels to the experience being challenging for legacy applications. Firstly they would have been designed a while ago and so might not have been designed for mobile, tablets or touch screens. They would also have been designed with older design principles and approaches, which if you look back don’t look too great when compared to modern solutions. When you add in the fact that your business has probably evolved since first setting the application up and if the solution is unable to evolve with your processes, this can make using the system a challenge.

One final element that normally holds back legacy applications is the search function. Modern solutions have great search capability making it easy to navigate quickly to what you are looking for, without this you are left scrolling through menus until you find what you need.


Maintaining an old application can be a significant challenge. Domain knowledge can be the biggest challenge to maintenance, if no one within the organisation knows exactly how an application works it can be hard to confidently make changes to it going forward. Pair that with the fact that you are on an aging technology base with a shrinking support network and the ability to keep your application working properly becomes more and more challenging.


Scalability is a challenge faced by legacy applications. You need your applications to allow your users to do what they need to do in a timely manner. With limitations of the on-premise server and in some cases the application design, many legacy applications can only run so many jobs or requests at any one time. This can lead to some things needing to be run overnight, system speed decreasing and slowing down your employees and in extreme cases can cause the system to crash.

These are our 6 top challenges facing legacy applications. Depending on how you answer them your application could be a key candidate for a modernisation program. To discuss your application modernisation contact us today or book a free briefing.