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Originally Appeared: Route Fifty on June 10, 2020

Imagine having to operate critical government IT systems so obsolete that only programmers in retirement can update software. This is the situation public sector IT administrators at the state, local and federal level are experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic—putting immense strain on government IT infrastructure.

Public servants across the country are facing major roadblocks as they work to respond to public needs with operating systems, hardware and software that haven’t been updated in decades. Many government servers used today were brought online between 2003 and 2008. And those servers aren’t being updated as traditional mainframes are phased out. These systems are so antiquated and complex that to get them up to speed would require complete reengineering and business process redesign.

This technical deficiency has real world security and continuity implications. In April, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy put out a public plea for volunteers with COBOL experience, a 60-year-old programming language, to help the state respond to the growing demand in unemployment claims. 

New Jersey isn’t alone…

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