Each technology system is also a record and repository of corporate information. For years, sometimes decades, those programs and systems have gathered customer and colleague data, performed millions of transactions, connected with dozens, maybe hundreds of other systems, and more. The volume of that legacy data and its functioning processes is vast and often forms the very character and spirit of its company. Once it’s mothballed, it shouldn’t just lie dormant for forever, nor is it optimal to simply destroy it en masse.
There are several high-level points to consider when evaluating the scope and purposes of a corporate technology retirement strategy. More nuanced considerations emerge as those larger elements come into focus:
Types of data: Certain types of corporate information shouldn’t be lost forever unless it was meant to be deleted for forever. The personally identifying information (PII) of private customers, for example, must (usually) be destroyed in its entirety. Foundational corporate data, however, may need to be maintained for future reference.
Functional essence: Functions, too, may require mothballing as new tech replaces their inefficiencies. They, too, however, may provide some critical element of the company’s processing, and that may also require sensitive handling in the transition process.
Bigger picture: External factors are also part of the equation. Security, for example, is often a strong driver for modernization. Cybercriminals are constantly building outside the known technology box, and legacy systems are rarely able to withstand assaults based in emerging code that they cannot read. Inadvertently leaving some piece of legacy tech in the modernized system may expose an organization to this type of threat.
Developing a retirement strategy that takes these concerns into account will assure every enterprise that moving on from legacy technology won’t unnecessarily expose the organization to known or future unknown threats.