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You don’t know what you would do without that specialized application or software suite your business has always depended on — but now it looks like you’ll have to figure it out. Many grand old programs of the past stop receiving updates at some point, either because their makers have moved on to other things or because they’ve exited the industry altogether. Even major operating system providers eventually stop supporting their older versions. So what do you do when you can no longer run that all-important application? Here are some options for your consideration.

Upgrade Your OS

Is your outdated OS standing in the way of your running your outdated application? Today’s operating systems must undergo frequent patching and updates to remain secure against the ever-growing threat of malware and hacking attempts. At some point, Microsoft, Apple and other makers will simply stop supporting an older version in favor of a newer one. When that happens, you don’t dare use your hardware in an Internet-enabled network — which means you can’t use the other legacy software on those machines either.

Is it possible that your legacy software might actually run on an upgraded OS? You might as well go ahead and upgrade the OS on one machine, then try to run the program through that OS just to see if it functions normally. If you have trouble, find out whether a third-party company provides an emulator that can “translate” the program for your updated OS — or commission the creation of such a program yourself.

Upgrade Your Hardware

Maybe your legacy software will run on your current OS, and the OS itself is still supported, but the ancient servers and workstations necessary to run this elderly arrangement are dragging your productivity into the ground. Even a computer just a few years old can seem mind-bogglingly slow compared to this year’s model.

But you may still be able to make old-school software run with acceptable speed on yesterday’s machines — if you can upgrade the machines themselves. Try swapping the hard drive out for a solid-state drive, maximizing the on-board memory, and/or plugging into a faster Internet setup; you might be surprised by the results. Ultimately, however, it makes more sense to future-proof your IT system by buying new computers, even if it means having to say goodbye to that critical old software in the process.

Find a Modern-Day Alternative

As unimaginable as it may seem to migrate from that beloved legacy program to some modern-day alternative, doing so is by far the simplest solution, and the one most likely to prevent future compatibility and security issues. Many state-of-the-art cloud computing platforms can provide powerful functionality at satisfying speeds, while also giving your team a more flexible and mobile environment than they could ever have enjoyed from that old program. Create a list of the day-to-day computing functions your team and industry requires, and schedule a consulting session with an IT company that can identify and install today’s ideal software solutions to those needs.

Again, if you absolutely cannot find a program that offers the exact feature set you need, you can have custom software tailor-made to deliver that feature set. Generally, however, going with a well-supported program from an established maker (or a combination of several such programs, if need be) will offer the best assurance that you won’t run into this same problem again in a few years’ time.

From upgrading your OS and optimizing your hardware to adopting contemporary software alternatives, you don’t have to sacrifice your business’s ability to work just because your critical program has past its expiration date. Contact GXA to discuss the available options for bringing your IT system into the present day — and beyond.