You never forget your first car—your first taste of freedom and independence. For most of us, it wasn’t fancy, but it served the purpose of getting us to and from school, ball games and good times with friends. Then we grow up, and we realize things like safety features, gas mileage, cargo space and heated seats really matter.

It’s not so different with your first content management system. Many colleges, universities, K-12 schools, and local government agencies try to make do with outdated legacy systems—be it a homegrown application or one from an obsolete software vendor. Upgrades can seem daunting, but the consequences of staying complacent can be incredibly costly. The argument for moving up from a legacy system shouldn’t be about adding on lots of unnecessary bells and whistles. But instead, it’s about making sure you have the functionality, safety and power you need to keep pace with the times and your students’ or constituents’ expectations.

Reckoning with increased security risk

One of the most significant drawbacks with a legacy system is that it leaves schools and government departments at greater risk and threatens data privacy and security. In turn, this does a disservice to students and constituents whose information can be stolen, sold, and otherwise misused and puts reputations on the line when there is a data breach.

An article in Infosecurity Magazine stated that in 2022, “The education sector experienced a 44% increase in cyber-attacks when compared to 2021, with an average of 2297 attacks against organizations every week, according to Check Point’s 2022 Mid-Year Report.” Many industry insiders suggest that this number is expected to rise again this year, as nefarious parties exploit gaps in legacy system security.

It isn’t just educational institutions with data at risk. A headline in a CSO article read, “Cyberattacks against governments jumped 95% in last half of 2022, CloudSek says.” The writer went on to share that “Government agencies collect and store huge amounts of data, which include information about individual citizens that can be sold on the dark web. There is also a risk that national security and military data can be used by terrorist organizations.” As such, the inadequate security provided by legacy systems is a clear and present threat to both national security and individuals’ privacy.

Data insecurity can also be very expensive. According to the latest edition of The Breach Report conducted by IBM, the typical cost of a security breach in the public sector is increasing significantly. It went up from $1.93 million to $2.07 million between March 2021 and a year later, a 7.25 percent rise. In education, the average breach cost increased from $3.65 to $3.86 million over the same period, an uptick of 5.75 percent.

The latest generation of content management platforms protect end users’ data with rigorous security standards that meet or exceed exacting compliance standards, such as SOC 2. The vendors most dedicated to demonstrating such a high level of data security and integrity usually have a director of compliance and operations who leads an experienced team. They can greatly reduce the chance of a cyberattack on their customers succeeding by building robust security features into the foundation of their content management system.

Overburdening your IT/IS team

At small schools and government agencies with limited budgets, a handful of dedicated professionals juggle the management of many different IT/IS systems. Along with dealing with support calls, they oversee installation, maintenance, and upgrades of every application. A legacy system with many moving parts is often unreliable and requires constant upkeep. This is time-consuming for the IT/IS staff and prevents them from spending time on value-add projects, researching best practices, or advancing their skillset. If a legacy system vendor decides to sunset their product, the responsibility falls to internal IT/IS teams to continue support, create workarounds or seek out third-party consultants.

More modern content management systems can eliminate some or all these challenges. They’re typically more stable than legacy applications and promise more uptime. Cloud-based platforms offer greater data security and operational efficiencies, as user data is stored and managed offsite rather than requiring on-premises servers. IT leaders in search of disaster preparedness and recovery strategies are turning to cloud-based applications, knowing they can maintain business continuity despite unexpected disruptions.

Wrangling disparate applications

Defending one castle is far easier than defending five or ten. In the same way, bringing all your content management needs together in a single system improves data security because it’s easier to safeguard against ransomware and other kinds of cyberattacks. Unlike legacy systems, which often are comprised of disparate niche systems, today’s software and services platforms bring together document management, workflow, eForms and eSignatures into a single, centralized hub. The result is a much easier effort to define, implement, and enforce standardization for how content is captured, organized, accessed and stored.

Aside from the clear data security benefits, centralizing documents, forms and data brings significant process efficiencies. Document management and workflow systems that integrate easily with an existing ERP or SIS bring many information sources into a single source of truth, allowing staff members to run reports, create dashboards, and answer inquiries with full confidence.

If you’re ready to leave your underperforming legacy system behind, let Softdocs make the migration process as easy as possible.