Software Updates – A Necessary Evil

It’s that item on your to do list that you often ignore and say you will do later –  software updates. Not only may you be missing out on the latest improvements, but you can create a major security risk for your organization by ignoring these updates.

One of the largest data breaches on record is the Equifax data breach in 2017. It exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Hackers were able to get in due to a known system vulnerability for which a security patch had been issued two months before the breach. Unfortunately, no one at Equifax applied the patch. It cost the company $700 million in a settlement reached with the FTC.

 

60% of data breaches in 2019
were the result of unpatched vulnerabilities.

 

Before you get distracted by another project or think that you can wait to do your next update, here are a few reasons why software updates matter.

 

Security

Security is the number one reason to make sure you take care of updates as soon as possible. Software vulnerabilities often give cyber criminals access to one’s computer and plant malware. Malware enables one to take control of computers and steal information. It also can encrypt files, documents and other programs so they are unusable. Security patches block these open doors in the software to protect a device from attacks.

Risks from third-party vendors account for over two-thirds of all data breaches today. Third-party applications often interact with the internet. This makes them highly vulnerable to ransomware. Hackers know companies often overlook updating various programs that don’t seem important.

Cybercriminals want to exploit the most vulnerabilities as possible simultaneously. They are constantly searching for popular third-party programs. They will jump on an opportunity to hack millions of users who delayed updating their software.

 

New Features

On a positive side, software updates can give you access to the latest improvements and remove the old ones that are out of date.  A software program may get a new shot of stability — no more crashing. Or an update might boost program performance — more speed. Some of these new features could save you time and most importantly enable the software to keep working and not shut down.

 

Protect Your Data

Your Data is your most valuable asset at any organization. Often hackers will search for personal data such as financial information, passwords, usernames or other documents with sensitive information. They will look to sell this information to the dark web and commit crimes. Allowing your customer’s information to be vulnerable can impact your company’s reputation and future business.

 

Improve Performance

Just like your vehicle needs regular maintenance to help improve its performance, your software can benefit from updates. Bugs are often found in programs or enhancements are made to improve the overall experience.

 

Ensure Compatability

With technology constantly changing, often older software will not be compatible with new technologies without the appropriate update. Microsoft, Google and Apple are frequently updating their technology interfaces. Most of us use multiple devices so compatibility is essential.

 

Don’t Fall for Fake Update Messages

It important to update your software but beware of fake messages or popups out there. Pop-ups are typically a scam to get you to click somewhere that you should not. Close the pop-up and go directly to the vendor website to look for downloads. There a suspicious emails making their rounds stating that your updates are past due and make an update now. It is best to reach out to the vendor directly.

You may have the option with some software to do automatic updates. Some software makes it possible to choose the time of day you update or even how often. Scheduling and automating your updates this way will make them less of a nuisance.

 

Take Time to Update

Like ignoring the check engine light on your car is something you shouldn’t do, the same goes for software updates. They can help protect personal information as well as company data. Contact Zunesis to find out more about how we can help.

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