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How to modernize old apps without compromising security

Article by Vice President and General Manager of Radware APJ, Yaniv Hoffman.

At a time when digital transformation has become central to businesses, even the most important applications come with an expiration date. Left unchecked, the legacy code of these applications can become a roadblock over time, limiting DevOps teams whose job it is to innovate.

Monolithic legacy on-premises applications rely on older, more limited frameworks, software libraries, and operating systems. This creates training issues when deploying these applications with newer software architectures and forces DevOps to expend resources trying to integrate and understand legacy code.

Legacy apps are also more likely to suffer from the type of security issues that can be difficult to mitigate.

Application modernization is an approach that offers clear benefits by allowing organizations to overcome these issues without simply abandoning applications altogether, by updating enough code to tie the old and the new together.

Through application modernization, organizations can enhance existing applications by integrating them with new infrastructure frameworks and platforms. This helps protect existing investments while updating their software portfolios across the business environment.

Since everything from initial software development to customer experience hinges on data integrity and efficiency, modernizing legacy applications helps improve data quality across all workflows. Organizations can mitigate bottlenecks resulting from legacy systems, which almost always compromise new projects.

Some benefits of application modernization include:

# Commercial agility – allows to add new functionalities, new services and to support the cloud infrastructure.

# Cost reduction – eliminates unused or redundant functions to reduce costs, allowing more investment in innovation rather than legacy management.

# Improved security – incorporates new security features that reduce the risk of data or system compromise.

# Improved performance – Accelerates legacy applications across the enterprise.

# User experience– enhances apps with more advanced features that improve customer experience.

# Maintenance– Reduces the burden of managing legacy applications, which become more expensive over time.

Certain technologies are critical to successful application modernization. Therefore, before embarking on application modernization, organizations should first consider how best to integrate it with a range of cloud infrastructures. Options include:

cloud computing(public, private, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud). Although more and more applications are transforming from the traditional data center into a public, private or multi-cloud environment, not all organizations can move directly to the cloud. A hybrid approach may be required on this journey.

Containersare a cloud-centric method for packaging, deploying, and operating applications and workloads, providing superior scalability, portability, and operational efficiency, well suited for cloud infrastructure. They are especially useful in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments.

Microservicesare less a technology than an architectural choice. Instead of building and operating an application as a single, complete code base — commonly referred to as monolithic or monolithic development — components are decoupled into smaller pieces that are deployed, updated, and operated independently.

Orchestration and automationin software development cover the automation of many operational tasks associated with containers, including deployment, scaling, and networking. Automation is an important principle and is increasingly necessary to ensure that development, operations, and security teams can manage their modern applications at scale.

Any technological overhaul carries security risks. And while cloud adoption has many benefits, it also creates uncertainties that are top of mind for seasoned CISOs. These include:

The Growing Threat Landscape: Attackers are increasingly active in all types of threats, with more DDoS attacks against infrastructure, applications, and enterprise layers. As organizations migrate their applications to the public cloud, hackers are increasingly focusing their attacks on public cloud infrastructure. In this threat landscape, it is clear that only state-of-the-art security will protect critical business infrastructure.

Accelerated digital transformation: As more and more applications are deployed online, the speed at which organizations develop and introduce new applications becomes a source of competitive advantage. To keep pace, organizations must ensure their DevOps efforts are faster and more agile to sustain the business transformation demanded by management. To avoid additional cyber risks, security must be tightly integrated into the development process.

New application infrastructure: Modernizing applications using containers and microservices requires new tools that must be secured. Additionally, accelerating the pace of development requires security that integrates with existing DevOps processes and structures.

The solution — frictionless security

The gradual aging of legacy software applications is a problem that every organization must eventually address. But the risks this entails in terms of cloud migration and service availability remain a huge hurdle.

Although legacy applications have limitations, they are predictable and in known quantity. Re-engineering them to operate in cloud environments exposes organizations to unknown levels of security and availability exposure and risk.

Leading cybersecurity and application delivery solution providers are addressing these challenges on multiple fronts. State-of-the-art DDoS protection will protect an organization’s infrastructure against the most advanced threats, while Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) keep applications available and secure. Advanced web application firewalls and bot management solutions protect applications and data from attack and compromise.

The transition to the cloud can be protected with a cloud-native protector for workloads and a flexible licensing model. Look for a license that lets organizations decide how best to use a single capacity license to move and scale workloads and capacity in any private data center or public and private cloud, regardless of either location or type.

With frictionless security, critical applications can be protected without security getting in the way or creating management overhead.

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