Addressing Compliance Risks in Legacy Enterprise Content Management Systems

Organizations that want to manage their content efficiently and securely are finding themselves constrained by antiquated legacy Enterprise Content Management (ECM)systems. Compliance rules and security standards governing content and data have become more numerous and restrictive. As these pressures mount, legacy ECM systems are showing themselves to be deficient for cloud content management, interoperability, use with big data tools and business continuity. Usability for end users also suffers. Modern alternatives are emerging that enable organizations to overcome the barriers to secure, efficient and compliant content management.

The goals of modern ECM strategy

IT departments can get so caught up in dealing with legacy ECM that they lose sight of what they actually want to accomplish in content management. Content management is not about administering ECM systems. It’s about making content and data into a valuable asset of the enterprise. It means enabling employees to be more productive by making content easier to find and manage.

Data is such a critical asset; protecting and securing it should be central to every ECM strategy. The value of business information will forever continue to increase. Prioritizing how that content is managed, leveraged and protected is essential to a company’s success.

Data security and compliance are further goals of modern ECM. Businesses must now abide by many regulations governing content. These range from privacy laws and the new consumer “right to be forgotten” to healthcare records regulations and evidence preservation in litigation. In terms of security, content needs to be protected against data breach and malicious interference with data integrity, as well as threats to content availability like ransomware.

Efficiency challenges in legacy ECM

Legacy ECM is a barrier to realizing the efficiency and security goals of ECM strategy. Old ECM platforms create operational inefficiencies by being frequently flagged during security system audits. This, in turn, strains budgets with excessive maintenance and human capital costs. Often, these legacy systems—with architectures unsuitable for the IT modern era—have been in place for decades. It can be difficult, or even impossible in to find experienced people that understand these systems and can support them in production. From the end-user perspective, the archaic architecture makes it difficult to search and find content when and where they need it.

Security compliance risks of legacy ECM

An ECM solution must ensure that the data it holds remains governed and secure. If an ECM solution does not align with current standards and controls, it will fail. Ultimately, the responsibility is on the organization to perform the due diligence required to ensure that the solutions and configurations in place are kept current.

Today’s most dangerous cyber threats target older code, such as that found in legacy ECM systems. These applications Expose organizations to security risk because they are vulnerable to attack vectors their creators could not have imagined when they were built. For Instance, consider the attack surface that gets exposed when a legacy ECM, written before the advent of the Internet, gets moved to a public cloud environment. Such a system has many vulnerabilities that can easily exploited by today’s malicious actors.

When it comes to user security, legacy ECM solutions can force the hand of organizations to adopt less than ideal administration scenarios. In many cases, this is due to these systems not being capable of interacting with industry standard security and identity management systems. This ultimately results in organizations trying to manage security in multiple places. Updates in one location do not replicate automatically in others. Admins are then faced with multiple points of failure.

For example, has an admin allowed somebody access rights to something on one system that they do not have in the other systems? Is auditing occurring across all these systems? As a user’s job changes, security rights and roles also change, and the complexities are compounded in managing these in more than one location.

The potential for human error further exposes legacy ECM systems to compliance risk unless those systems are carefully considered and managed. Many breaches happening today, particularly in the government sector, are related to this weakness. Security concerns are expanded further when legacy ECM systems are left stagnant, making them an easy target for data breaches.

Mitigating legacy ECM compliance risks

Legacy ECM platforms are noticeably underservicing organizations, creating risk exposure and ultimately becoming a roadblock for businesses to realize the true value of their information assets. It is imperative that organizations, from the top down, use their information initiatives and ECM strategies to routinely reevaluate the state of security and compliance. This will ensure that their ECM solutions do not become legacy obstacles and sources of risk that compromise an organization’s success.

In many cases, moving away from legacy ECM is viewed as an insurmountable task. But it does not have to be this way. For over 40 years, Systemware has helped the world’s largest institutions migrate from their aging systems onto the modern Content Cloud platform. With the right approach to ECM strategy and a new and modern system to back it up, a business can focus more on growth and less on content security and compliance risks.