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Application Modernization: 5 Cyber Security Benefits

Posted by Neil Sheppard on September 18, 2023


Application modernization is about more than just a one-off cloud migration. Discover five ways updating your application portfolio can cut your cyber security risk.

Application modernization is often equated to migrating your IT landscape into the cloud. However, updating your application portfolio has a great many other benefits, including enhanced cyber security.

While there is merit to fears that cloud-hosted data could be more vulnerable than on-premise options, the real threat comes from your legacy applications. Outdated software will almost certainly have a range of vulnerabilities, including:

  • only being designed for offline security
  • having moved out of support, so not receiving security updates
  • legacy links to outdated data centers
  • lack of compatibility with modern security and anti-malware tools
  • no identity confirmation capabilities beyond simple password protection

Replacing legacy applications with best-of-breed tools will fill these security gaps and protect you from cyber attacks. For support with your application modernization initiative, visit our application modernization page:

USE CASE: Application Modernization & Cloud Migration

In the meantime, let's look more closely at why this is so important.

Why Application Modernization Matters For Cyber Security

Application modernization is vital for maintaining your organization's cyber security. In fact, an Insight survey found 52% of companies consider cyber security to be a primary focus for their application modernization initiative.

This isn't particularly surprising since 83% of organizations experienced more than one data breach during 2022, according to IBM. Since 42% of consumers will stop buying from a company after a hack that exposed customer data, this is a major concern.

Gartner predicts that, by 2025, human failure will be responsible for over 50% of significant cyber incidents. This makes login security and end-user monitoring key for protecting against cyber attack.

This has led to the rise of Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) policies, where every person accessing data must regularly prove their identity with validation tools. In fact, Okta believes 55% of companies began a Zero-Trust initiative in 2022.

Do your legacy applications have the security features needed to meet the requirements of Zero Trust? Few older apps will be capable of this kind of identity management.

Let's consider five use cases for how application modernization can support Zero-Trust policies in protecting you against cyber threats.

1 Application Modernization For Cloud Cyber Security

Application modernization is key for maintaining cyber security in the modern day. A locked server room in the basement of your office is simply no longer sufficient.

According to Owl Labs, 62% of people now work from home at least some of the time. This means offering secure remote access to workplace tools is a necessity in modern enterprise.

Yet, this isn't the end of the woes for infosec teams. Employees now expect to access workplace information on the go through their own mobile devices.

Those devices are connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Once you've allowed employees to connect a mobile device to your data, there is also a route to that data from everything connected to your colleagues' mobiles, including:

  • Public wifi networks
  • Bluetooth devices
  • Smart watches
  • Home assistants like Amazon Alexa
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices like contactless payment terminals
  • and much more

Protecting the network of devices that can now access your organization's data through your employee's is complex. Gone are the days when you could see your organization as a castle safely behind a moat and wall.

Thankfully, modern application toolsets have a variety of useful capabilities that can make your cloud-based remote network as safe as your on-premise server:

Extended Detection And Response (XDR)

Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is a system for monitoring employee computers on a network for vulnerabilities and attacks. This has been replaced by XDR, which offers a more holistic viewpoint, monitoring all device connections, as well as advanced analytics.

Mobile Threat Defense (MTD)

Likewise, MTD tools are specifically designed to specifically protect mobile devices connected to your network. They serve to fill the cyber security gaps left by tools designed only to protect computers.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)

An SASE or SSE (Secure Service Edge) solution is a package of applications designed for cloud-based cyber security. Unlike traditional security controls, SASE focuses on securing the device and access point used to connect to the network, rather than the data on the network.

Unified Endpoint Security (UES)

UES platforms consolidate all the above systems with other capabilities in order to offer complete protection across your network access points, regardless of where and what they are.

2 Comprehensive Monitoring Of Cyber Security

Putting all of the above capabilities you can acquire through application modernization together unlocks an even greater benefit for cyber security - comprehensive and continuous monitoring.

Advanced analytics tools offered by Unified Endpoint Security (UES) platforms continuously monitor your network and detect malicious activity and threats. Modern technologies can advance these capabilities even further with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) automation.

Under the philosophy of Zero-Trust and UES, once again, the focus is on the endpoints, rather than the network. As such, endpoint protection platforms (EPPs) monitor each and every device with network access to ensure compliance.

Automation can then warn you of attacks before they develop, and even make recommendations for taking action. This empowers you to act on cyber security threats in real-time.

3 Data Encryption

We all now benefit from messaging platforms with end-to-end, user-side encryption, like WhatsApp and Signal. This means data is encrypted before it is sent, making it impossible to be intercepted.

This is much harder to do with complex communication like that between a user working on a device and the server where the application data is stored. However, separating out that communication is possible.

With microsegmentation, it's possible to prevent a cyber attack from spreading beyond the first point of attack by dividing access points from the network. For example, a freelance social media manager can access your organization's social media accounts and publishing tools, but not your financial data and customer information.

This minimizes the risk involved in each individual cyber attack and ensures that even successful hackers are left frustrated.

4 Multi-Factor Authentication And Biometrics

Whether you're using the cloud or on-premise solutions, cyber security is still playing catch-up to the sophistication of modern cyber criminals. Application modernization is the fastest, and perhaps only, way to do this.

As we mentioned above, the primary way that attackers can access your data is by exploiting your employees. This could be from hacking their devices or through phishing attacks, such as scam emails.

Either way, it's vital to ensure that everyone accessing your data is who they say they are with identity threat detection and response (ITDR). Of course, we've had forms of ITDR for a long time.

Password protection is the most obvious form of ITDR, but it's simply no longer enough. Not only is it relatively easy for criminals to obtain passwords, either through subterfuge or hacking, but you also have to create exploitable workarounds to allow your employees to recover forgotten passwords.

Thankfully, modern ITDR tools offer alternatives:

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA requires your employees to log in with two methods before they can access data. In its simplest form, a user will be sent a single-use code to their mobile device as a secondary password.


Many modern devices include finger-print scanners and facial recognition, ensuring only intended users can log in. For added security, biometrics are often used for MFA.

Embedded Hardware Authentication

Embedded hardware authentication is essentially MFA for devices, requiring you to have a secondary device to log in. However, in the case of hardware authentication, the secondary password is either a USB key that must be inserted into the device or a tool installed into the device itself. This means hackers will need to steal both passwords and several devices from your employees before they can access your data.

5 Regtech

Application modernization is key for cyber security, but there is also another element to consider. As well as cyber attacks, poor cyber security can also leave you facing the wrath of regulators.

This becomes even more challenging when you consider the global market. Regulations vary between countries across the world, so how can you keep track of what measures you need to take in what areas?

Modern applications often come equipped with best-of-breed regtech solutions. This automates the discovery of regulatory compliance and makes recommendations for the changes you need to make to stay compliant worldwide.

How LeanIX Can Help

Application modernization often involves cloud migration, but we've also discovered above how vital it is for cyber security. Yet, this isn't a one-off digital transformation.

Not only does the pace of technology change never slow, but digital evolution also isn't just one-way. Modernization can involve any kind of transformation, including migration back to on-premise.

Whatever change you need to make, LeanIX EAM will help you assess your current application portfolio, plan your roadmap for change, and continue to monitor your continuous transformation needs going forward.

To find out more, book a demo:

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