Don’t Ignore Software Updates and Security Patches

Software updates and security patch notifications often pop up at the most inopportune times. Instead of ignoring those irritating alerts, however, it’s critical to understand how important these fixes can be.

In many cases, a software patch—a set of changes to a computer application designed to update or improve it—can save the day. Take the recent report of a bug found in Safari, the basic web browser built into all Mac and iOS devices. This serious vulnerability can compromise the details of your recent browsing history and even share stored login credentials for Google accounts, allowing malicious websites to track your Internet activity and reveal the details of your digital identity.

All versions of Safari on iPhones, iPads, and Mac laptops and desktops were vulnerable to this bug—until Apple issued an operating system update last week to fix it. Of course, many of us put off those “update now” prompts, viewing them merely as inconveniences.

That’s certainly the case with recent Windows updates. Microsoft says they could take at least eight hours to correctly install on PCs, tablets, and smartphones. That means two continuous connected hours—and six total connected hours after an update is released—to reliably update. “What we found is that devices that don’t meet a certain amount of connected time are very unlikely to successfully update,” says David Guyer, a Principal Program Manager for Windows Updates in Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

Why Are Patches and Updates so Important?

Remember WannaCry, the massive ransomware attack that wreaked havoc on hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world in 2017? That attack took advantage of unpatched versions of Windows XP, exploiting a commonly known vulnerability to encrypt data, shut down day-to-day operations at hospitals and multinational corporations, and interrupt supply chains—to the total tune of more than $5 billion.

Three years later, the threat in many cases could be even higher. Even though support for Windows 7 ended two years ago, in January 2020, nearly 13% of all worldwide PCs still use it. A recent study by Ponemon Institute found that half of all surveyed organizations believe it’s too difficult to install regular security patches and software updates for common programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat—even though those updates can be easily installed through the cloud.

A Proactive Approach Is Critical to Business Success

Automated delivery of software patches and security updates is the best way to fight back against ransomware and other online exploits. Working with a trusted IT provider like CMIT Solutions, your desktops, laptops, servers, printers, and other devices can remain safe around the clock. Experienced technicians review and deploy needed patches, often working in the background or during off-hours so that your employees aren’t impacted by irritating downtime or productivity hiccups.

A proactive approach can also prevent back-end problems, like an interrupted Internet connection or improper installation. Automated alerts can allow IT technicians to quickly address these issues or identify missed patches that leave exploits hidden from normal view. At CMIT Solutions, we work with every client to outline patches and update implementation. That way, you’ll know exactly what to expect—and precisely which “update now” alerts deserve prompt attention.

One Layer of the Cybersecurity Umbrella

With 25 years of experience working on every kind of software and hardware, CMIT Solutions understands that software patches and security updates represent just one aspect of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. This single layer of protection isn’t enough to prevent every malicious attack—especially as these attacks become more complex and sophisticated.

That informs our “It’s not if, but when” approach. Rather than wondering whether a hack will occur, we prepare our clients’ systems in advance for that inevitable outcome. Our proactive IT monitoring and maintenance services perform around-the-clock system scans, often identifying vulnerabilities before hackers can. We protect mission-critical systems and the integrity of your data so that normal operations can continue, even in the face of a cybersecurity issue.

Many experts consider this enhanced level of protection “cyber resiliency”: constructing extra layers of security around networks, operating systems, software applications, and hardware as a matter of common IT sense. Additional tools include real-time Internet traffic analysis, threat detection, multi-factor authentication, remote access protocols, and end-to-end encryption. All of these layers complement automatic security patches and software updates by serving three main purposes: defending your data, protecting your technology, and empowering your employees to safely work at home, in the office, and on the road.

Need to learn more about software patches? Not sure whether critical recent Windows and Mac updates have been installed on your machines? Contact CMIT Solutions today.

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