System updates, both small and large, can be an annoyance – they take up important work time and can be easily put off to a later date. However, failing to update your systems, devices, and software increases risk and leaves you open to exploitation.
In the past day, WhatsApp has patched a zero-day vulnerability that allowed cyber criminals to remotely infect users’ smartphones with spyware. WhatsApp is well known as one of the more secure messaging services – its end-to-end encryption is notoriously difficult to hack. This vulnerability attacked end user devices instead.
You may or may not use WhatsApp, but this incident reinforces a simple but essential message:
System updates matter.
In fact, they are an essential cyber security best practice.
Why do we receive system updates?
There are a variety of reasons that companies issue software or system updates. These include:
- Vulnerability fixes.
- New features.
- Compatibility and stability updates.
- Performance upgrades.
- Removal of outdated features.
- Data protection.
Updates can be numerous, so it’s easy to ignore or schedule them for a later date, but it’s through this passivity and perceived inconvenience that cyber criminals thrive. In fact, most major data breaches and malware attacks rely on users not updating their systems and software.
For example, we wrote about WannaCry: Two Years On recently, identifying changes in cyber security attitudes since the NHS was brought to its knees as a result of unpatched vulnerabilities. The data breach, which reportedly cost Equifax around $1.4bn, also occurred as a result of their failure to apply a two-month old system update.
System updates often don’t take more than a couple of minutes, so we recommend that you try to install these as soon as they become available. After all, prevention is better than cure.
System updates – seize the initiative
Rather than an inconvenience, system updates are an excellent opportunity to take control of your cyber security. You can’t directly control whether your business will be targeted by cyber criminals, but you can put the measures in place to prevent a disaster. Applying updates and patches is part of this.
Many system updates can even be applied automatically, but there will be some that need to be checked manually. It’s recommended that you take responsibility for ensuring that all of your devices and software are updated to the latest version – this way, your business can benefit from the latest vulnerability fixes, and even brand new software features that can enhance your productivity!
Of course, if your business relies on technology but doesn’t have the capacity for a dedicated IT department, it can be difficult to make the time or possess the expertise to apply these fixes.
Neuways can assist with this. As an MSP (managed service provider), our managed services includes remote management of system updates for all of your business devices and software. This means that you can continue to run your business, knowing that your business is benefitting from the latest system updates.