Software updates and patches are frequently avoided by small and medium business owners. These critical updates are thought to take up too much time to download and install, while they offer little business value.
Software Updates Offer More Than New Functionality
When it comes to saving time, Small and Medium Business owners develop their own unique tactics. One that is almost universal is delaying software updates.
This time saving tactic, however, comes at a great expense.
When software is out-of-date, it creates window of opportunity for cyber attackers to access the software. As a result, the attackers may also access an entire computer system or network. Cyber attackers leverage out-of-date software, using it as an opportunity to make money. In many cases, cyber attackers develop malware to leverage system vulnerabilities within hours of a company announcing an update.
Despite this widespread knowledge, 11% of businesses admitted that they delay installing updates, sometimes by more than a few months. Ideally, an update should be installed within 24 hours of becoming available.
Limited IT Knowledge a Major Deterrent to Updating Software
Let’s be honest: when running a small or medium business, it may not be top of mind to look for software updates. Plus, updates are everywhere. On Productivity Software (like Office 365), computer operating systems, and mobile devices. It can be quite the task to keep track of updates.
That would explain why 62% of individuals require support to update their computers and software.
Especially when running a scrappy team, installing software updates may not seem like a priority. Updates can prevent you from using your computer in some cases. 44% of respondents indicate that downloading and installing updates too long, and prevents them from doing what they need to do.
3 Reasons to Update your Software
1. Updates aren’t just about functionality Software updates don’t just offer a new interface or features. They often repair security holes or remove bugs from the software. The same goes for operating systems; these updates are often made available when the company finds a flaw. Updating business software ensures your enterprise data is secure.
2. Updates prevent exploitation Software vulnerabilities present ‘gaps’ in software or an operating system. These gaps can be used as the gateways that cyber attackers exploit to break into your computer network (and steal your data).
How? Attackers write custom software that targets the gap. They are actually that opportunistic. You, or someone in your business, doesn’t even need to do anything for this to happen.
Software updates repair these security gaps, and ensure attackers don’t strike your business.
3. Updates protect your data If your business is like many other SMBs, it may store a vast amount of data on its computers. This may include information about employees and customers alike. For instance, emails containing sensitive information, billing information, or contact information. This is all data that is desirable to cyber attackers.
Once the attackers have access to your data, they monetize it. Meaning: they ask for a ransom. If this goes unpaid, they may sell the data on the dark web to the highest bidder. These high bidders may leverage the data in other unsavoury ways, but all with an eye for making money.
Updating software means you won’t have to deal with breaches related to vulnerabilities.
An Easy Fix to a Big Problem
Cyberattacks are on the rise. Attackers like easy targets: that includes computers that are not updated.
Those reminders that pop-up asking you to update software? While the may be annoying an prevent you from completing a task at hand, they also save your business form undue distress. The process of updating your software can save your organization large sums of money. In some cases, these updates may ensure your survival.
Out-of-Date Software: Handling the Aftermath
While CYDEF isn’t in the business of writing software updates or alerting users to update, we often handle the aftermath. When a virus or piece of malware sneaks through a security hole undetected, our monitoring solution will detect it. In some cases, our team of analysts has caught malware hidden for months on a computer. Without our endpoint detection and response service, the malware may have extracted some kind of nasty revenge.
Endpoint detection and response may sound out-of-reach for many organizations. We built CYDEF in honour of those SMBs that operate online, but don’t have the capacity/interest to run their own IT. Learn more about our company.