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Why Are Software Updates & Patches So Important?

software updates

Why Are Software Updates & Patches So Important?

Software Updates

Software updates can feel like an unimportant hassle, but there’s a lot more to them than you might realize…

You know those little pop-ups that appear when you open an application or program, prompting you to “Update Now”? If you’re like 95% of folks, you probably click “Remind Me Later…” Or maybe “ Remind Me Tomorrow.”

Updating procrastination is a real thing, and it impacts a lot of people. Some of this is because the call to action can feel a bit like an upsell, immediately putting you on your guard. Maybe the software or operating system seems to be working fine, so why change it? Why update it? Will it be a hassle, or ask for personal information that you aren’t sure you should provide?

Valid questions, and here’s the quick answer: software updates are extremely important, and they’re offered as a way to improve your user experience and security.

 


 

What are software updates for, and why do they matter?

Software is a fluid thing, and can be changed, improved, or repaired by the developers on an ongoing basis.

By not taking advantage of the updates, you’re missing out (best case) on fixes and improvements, or opening yourself up to a major software vulnerability (worst case).

 


 

Why software updates are vital for your small business

So, what’s actually behind that pesky pop-up?

Repairs

Software can develop bugs (errors or glitches), but the new version, or recent repair, is rolled out after those bugs have been eliminated. A quick, free download can translate to an instant improvement in software performance.

New versions

Updates, additional features, fresh capabilities… All are created and launched within a new piece of software, then come knocking at your door. If you keep postponing the update, you could be missing out.

Patch security flaws

If developers identify a cyber security flaw (or maybe they find it immediately after a problem has been reported), they’ll issue software patches to repair it, or a new piece of software is released to patch security holes. As the name implies, a patch modification is intended to quickly fix a problem before it has time to grow or be further leveraged. If you deny their request to update, you’re left with the vulnerability, and are open to security issues, malware, ransomware attacks, etc. In fact, over 90% of all software updates involve security fixes to reduce the risk of cyber attack.

Think of it like a recall for your car: if you found out there was a recurring problem with the brakes that was identified by the manufacturer, wouldn’t you take advantage of the free fix at your local dealership?

Protect your data with critical software updates

Taking it a step further, weaknesses within a software are considered low-hanging fruit for hackers and cyber security criminals. Many of the major data breaches that occur can be traced right back to security vulnerabilities, and failing to implement a simple software update (or security update) can leave the door wide open. We can’t overemphasize how crucial it is to consider routine updates part of not just your overall system maintenance, but security program as well.

Don’t pass along a virus

By not doing what it takes to protect your own cyber security, you could pass along a major security issue to others. Take a moment to stop the leak, install the patch, and shore up your own cyber defenses, if not for your sake then for the sake of others. If you’re a small business owner, you also have a fundamental responsibility to protect your employees and their data.

 


 

3 ways to make it easier to stay updated

  1. Make sure your security software is updated as a top priority. This is your first line of defense, and a weakness in your armor here can create a whole host of problems.
  2. Choose automatic updates, or an update reminder. This can be done on both your computer and your mobile device (stop manually updating all those apps!), freeing up your time and also ensuring that you’re not running outdated features, software, and programs.
  3. Know what you’re downloading. Updating existing software is one thing, when it’s proven and trusted, but it’s still important to be careful. Skillfully-crafted phishing schemes are designed to trick you into thinking you’re doing one thing, but actually install malicious software instead.

 


 

Have more questions about software updates or cybersecurity?

Contact us at Teltek! We’re here to help, and would love to discuss your IT questions and solutions.

Teltek Blogger


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