If you think you don’t have the time or inclination to install software updates on every computer, mobile phone, tablet, printer, payment device, security system, router or IoT devices that are in your business network of technology, think again. Taking the short time to download and install an update when you see a pop-up or get an email can save you from a major security headache in the future. It’s important for you to keep your information secure at work—and to make sure your employees are on top of data safety, too.
Software updates are a line of protection between you and cyberattacks.
What is a software update?
When a company releases a piece of software, it’s ready for market, but developers continue to discover security holes and computer bugs in programs for many years after the initial release date.
When a problem is discovered, the company that manages the software will send out a download via the internet to all users of the software. This is an update or a “patch.”
What happens if you ignore updates?
You risk data being hacked. While you work hard to keep your business running smoothly, there are cybercriminals who are working just as hard to get your personal and professional data. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, malicious hackers attack computers and networks at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds. The risk of not updating software outweighs any inconvenience of scheduling regular updates. Your, your employees’ and your customers’ personal information is a valuable commodity, not only to your business, but also to people with more nefarious purposes. If cybercriminals get hold of your emails or account information, they can sell it, use it to commit fraud or even hold the information for ransom.
Your devices are vulnerable to malware. Even with security software, you need to have the protection that comes directly from the device or software platforms you use. When you install critical software updates, you are often installing software patches that are designed to cover holes or flaws in the program’s security net.
If you or your employees are working from home, you can risk exposing even more people to malware, hackers and viruses. While it’s important to continue using employee online security best practices at home, it’s also important to secure and update the software on the devices you use for both home and work.
You could have performance issues. Outdated buggy software might also be causing problems such as your devices running slow, you’re seeing a lot of weird pop-ups or you’re experiencing a lot of crashes. Even if you think your software is running just fine, software updates may also contain new, updated features that can make the program or operating system run smoother or just work better for you and your team. The updates can also remove outdated or unused features from your devices, allowing your computers and peripherals to perform faster and work more efficiently.
You’re not getting the most out of your software. Patches are also sent when developers add new functionality to the software. Operating systems on your computers are updated often to give you more features, a better user interface or more efficiency. The only way you’re going to get those enhancements is through downloading updates.
How can I manage software updates?
As noted above, software security holes are an open invitation to hackers and people who create malicious viruses. Patches and updates happen as often as a bug, vulnerability or improvement is found for the software, so it’s a good idea to schedule time out every week to run through your technology settings to see if there is a new update for your device.
Updates are designed to not take very long, whether a few seconds or a few minutes. You can schedule time outside of your business hours to update or patch the critical software on your devices.
You can also opt to update software automatically. In order to automate the software update management process, navigate to the “Settings” menu in many programs and opt in to automatic program updates. You can choose what kind of updates you’d like to download automatically and opt out of features you don’t want or don’t use.
In addition to securing your business’ IoT devices, by updating regularly, you’re making the whole company less vulnerable to a cyberattack.
Make time for security
In addition to updating your software regularly, it’s a good idea to have a reliable security software suite from Bitdefender or Kaspersky, or a solution from your internet service provider, installed on all of your devices to protect your entire business system. Then be certain that your security software is regularly updated, too.
Taking a few minutes of your time, on a regular basis, to download and install software updates is the first and best thing you can do to strengthen your system’s defenses for a cyberattack.
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