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Why you should keep up to date with security and software updates

We’ve all gone through it. You’re busy at your desk, trying to meet the next deadline and the dreaded message appears on your computer screen asking you to take time out while ‘software updates are installed’; your machine restarts itself several times testing the limit of your patience as you watch the clock ticking by.

Meanwhile, behind your computer screen in the world of IT, a war is raging!

Developers of the software packages you use, the operating systems they run on and the firewalls you trust to protect you, are constantly battling with those that would seek to find and exploit any flaw in the software to steal your data, your credentials or even your identity.

So, each time the developer is made aware of a vulnerability they plug the gap and release a software update known as a patch. Once that update is available, the race is on – will the weakness be taken advantage of or will the patch be applied in time? That is largely up to you, just how busy are you?

Every second that a known vulnerability isn’t patched your business is at risk from hackers. Something as simple as out of date printer firmware or ignoring firewall updates could mean the wireless connection is unprotected, which could allow an intruder on to your network.

To save valuable time look to automate as much as possible:

• Enable automatic software updates on servers, desktops, laptops etc and schedule out of hours restarts to minimise disruption

• Check for firmware updates on these devices once a month, or if this is impractical for your business at least quarterly

• Enable automatic updates in software packages where possible or make it a weekly task to check for them

• Enable automatic firmware updates for firewalls, routers, modems, IP phones and even printers, or make it a monthly/quarterly task to check for them

If this all seems too time consuming, then it’s worth considering how long it might take your business to get back on track after a malicious attack or how costly a GDPR breach could be.

As a final recommendation, you could always employ a good, Managed Service Provider (MSP) to take care of things for you. If you’d like more information about this, just give us a call!

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