The majority of UK FTSE 250 and 100 companies could have security vulnerabilities due to the use of outdated systems.

This is according to research by software company Cloudhouse, which found that 96% of these companies are still running applications on legacy Windows operating systems, which will no longer be supported after the Windows 7 end-of-life deadline next month. The FTSE 100 and 250 are the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalisation.

Cloudhouse surveyed senior IT decision-makers within 50 of the UK’s largest enterprises ahead of the Windows end-of-life deadline on January 14 2020. After this day, Microsoft will no longer provide updates or support for its Windows 7 product, with the company strongly recommending that systems are updated before this deadline.

Not updating before the deadline puts companies at risk as they will no longer receive security updates, making them vulnerable to attacks, and could also be costly for businesses, as extended support charges will cost up to $200 a year per device

According to Cloudhouse’s research, 69% of companies are facing hurdles due to the cost and complexity of migrating legacy applications, with 90% running into “major problems” when moving legacy business applications to the cloud.

24% said they did not know of any solutions that would enable them to migrate their legacy applications, and only 6% have completed their digital transformation strategies. 22% are worried about moving applications to an incompatible cloud server environment.

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Mat Clothier, CEO of Cloudhouse said:

“It’s very worrying that some of the largest enterprises in the UK risk being crippled by their inability to migrate legacy applications to the cloud as the Windows end-of-life deadline looms. There is a gap in expertise and in their understanding of cloud-migration technology such as containerisation, which they need to overcome this paralysis. Otherwise they face escalating costs and severely downgraded competitiveness.

“Major enterprises are neglecting the most effective and obvious solution – encapsulation. This is an advanced form of containerisation that lifts each legacy application and its underlying environment and makes it fully-functioning and evergreen in the cloud. Incompatible applications can be encapsulated and migrated without the need for refactoring, recoding, upgrading or any impact on end-user experience. This eradicates extended support charges as well as removing technical debt. It’s time for enterprises to reappraise the options.”

Read More: Three key areas organisations must protect from cybercriminals.