Two Ways to Safeguard Your COBOL Data

By Julie Fouque, Vice President of Marketing

lower risk conceptA couple of weeks ago, my colleagues Paul Barry and George Florentine discussed how the COVID crisis has underscored reliance on decades-old, COBOL-based systems (watch COVID & COBOL video).

With both federal and state agencies, along with many financial institutions, in the news because of the failure of COBOL-based systems to meet sudden spikes in activity, the reliance on this outdated programming language has brought to the forefront the risks for any organization that continues to rely on COBOL.

I’m not going to tell you that you should get off your COBOL systems today. That’s a gigantic undertaking that requires more planning and execution than anyone probably wants to entertain in the current environment.

I do, however, want to outline two ways you can safeguard data that’s in those decades-old, COBOL-based systems. Taking care of that data should be a top priority, because the retired COBOL programmers who are on special call lists to provide support in dire circumstances will not be around forever.

It’s in your interest to manage the risk of safeguarding your COBOL data, today.

The first recommendation is to archive inactive data from a COBOL-based application to a secure archive.

Why should you do this?

  1. Our archiving process includes transforming COBOL-based data to XML so it’s in a “future-proof” format, not trapped for perpetuity in COBOL.
  2. This makes your data available for other systems, analytics, AI, machine learning, and more.
  3. Our archive provides retention and chain of custody controls and helps ensure compliance, such as GDPR compliance. How easy is this to do in your COBOL system(s)?
  4. Moving the data to a modern archive makes it available to clients for new revenue-generating services.

Second, consider archiving some active data from COBOL-based systems. This means moving data from production systems to an archive when it reaches a specified status.

Actively archiving your COBOL-based data can:

  1. Free up expensive storage from your Tier 1 platform to a lower-cost storage platform.
  2. Reduce system latency and improve performance by removing historical, non-relevant data.
  3. Help ensure that you’re following your corporate information governance policies.
  4. Make data available for other systems, analytics, AI, machine learning, and more.
  5. Make data available to clients for new revenue-generating services.

The sooner you get data off COBOL-based systems, the better shape you’ll be in. Active archiving can be a first step in your process.

So while you take more time to consider a long-term plan for reducing reliance on COBOL (or put off moving to a more modern system), do take seriously the stewardship of valuable data that resides in an outdated programming language. Archiving and active archiving are small steps to mitigate the risk.

Contact us to get started today.