Achieving privacy compliance is quite a challenge when it comes to legacy IT systems. They’re often difficult to navigate, sometimes lack proper updates and support, and usually don’t integrate well with other systems. And that’s a problem because legacy systems are not excluded from regulations and requirements like the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) or the European General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR).

Your organization may have mountains of sensitive data residing in outdated IT systems, posing a serious risk to your organization in terms of data loss, security breaches, or regulatory non-compliance. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to secure that data and protect your organization.

Legacy Systems are Rarely Orderly

Imagine a system where personal information (PI) is in distinct, manageable silos that can be managed based on both jurisdiction and data type, and data relating to a particular individual can be identified, segregated, and managed uniquely. Under the best of circumstances, that’s all a big ask, but in the case of legacy systems, it’s often impossible.

These older systems were not designed to meet today’s privacy compliance standards. The data structuring and data input were done in a way that did not contemplate this sort of compliance scenario, so the data is hopelessly commingled, poorly identified, and otherwise not well organized for privacy management. And when you’re dealing with a large-scale IT environment that can contain hundreds or thousands of legacy systems, the situation becomes exponentially problematic. There may not even be any sound institutional knowledge of what data is in what systems, much less detailed information about how the data is structured and segregated, and what metadata and other characteristics it may have.

Fortunately, it’s possible to remediate this situation. So where do you begin?

Assess the Information Silos

To begin with, you need some sort of inventory of your IT assets – what systems and repositories contain personal information, and what specific kinds of personal data are in each repository or system. That information may be harder to come by than you think. At the very least, you need a list of the major suspects and what’s likely to be in them.

It’s best practice to partner with other departments and collaborate when gathering this information. Other departments— from HR to legal and marketing— will have different systems they use frequently that you may not be aware of. Understanding where sensitive data lives across the organization, within shared repositories, and across smaller silos, will help you see where privacy risks may exist.

Evaluate Solutions for Extracting Records

Next, you’ll want to find a solution that can extract records from your outdated applications, allowing you to store them in privacy privacy-compliant manner moving forward. Be sure to find a solution that:

  • Extracts records in hours or days, not weeks or months.
  • Features robust security measures, including data encryption, role-based access control, and audit trails.
  • Applies metadata using machine learning and AI technologies, so documents can be easily located in the future.
  • Allows you to control access based on role, content types, collections, and more.
  • Integrates with your specific governance policy and applies the requisite retention and security rules to every electronic record.

As a single source of truth, Access Unify | Secure Compliance helps organizations make sense of their records by consolidating information in a cloud-based, secure, and compliant digital repository. With robust audit trails, detailed reporting, secure rights provisioning, and data privacy safeguards (SOC 2 Type II, PRISM Privacy+, Privacy Shield, etc.), the solution ensures records are readily available, secure, and compliant.

The Most Important Step is Getting Started

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the risks legacy systems present, especially considering the number of legacy systems maintained by medium to large organizations is 12, on average. Putting a plan in place and getting started is the most important step in your journey.

“Start slow if you have to. Start small if you have to. Start privately if you have to. Just start.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

If you’re ready to move away from your legacy systems, we can help you rapidly identify and extract records from legacy systems that you want to sunset and transition into a secure, cloud-based repository – while mitigating security and compliance risks. To find out more about Access Unify™ | Secure Compliance, speak with one of our representatives today.