Don’t Ignore Reminders to Update Your Software

 In Cyber Security, IT Planning

Those popups that tell you to install a software update always seem to come at the worst time. You’re working under deadline and need to get something done, so you click on the button to “Remind Me Later” and go on with your work. The next time the popup come up, you’re working on something else and you click “Remind Me Later” again. And again, and again.

Even when the reminder comes up when you aren’t in the middle of something, clicking “Install Now” doesn’t always seem like a good idea. You may be afraid installing the software will break something, especially if you’re running on older hardware or an older operating system. You may not care about the bug fixes and new features the patch promises.

Install it anyway.

Patches Keep Your Systems Safe

Patches are one of the key ways you can protect your computers from viruses and other kinds of malware. Hackers are constantly probing for weaknesses and creating new kinds of malware.

When antivirus software vendors learn about a new malware application, they identify the virus’s “signature” and add it to their database. Without applying an antivirus update, your antivirus software won’t protect you from that virus. If you don’t apply an operating system patch, you remain at risk from new malware that exploits the same vulnerability but has a different signature.

Patches Keep Your Systems Supportable

The longer you go without installing patches, the more out of date your systems get, and the more difficult it is to support them. Companies may not provide support if you don’t have all the latest patches installed. Because you aren’t running a standard version of the product any more, any issues you experience are likely to be unique to you, and you won’t be able to find help in knowledge bases, forums, and other online resources.

Patches Aren’t Just for the Operating System

Don’t think that patches aren’t important just because they’re not for the operating system. Browser plugins seem like innocuous, trivial things—they don’t even feel like an application, really—but they can have security holes that hackers exploit. Make sure you apply necessary patches to everything that runs on your computer, from the operating system to applications to plugins to macros.

Create a Process for Applying Patches

Getting a reliable process in place for installing patches is much less stressful than dealing with the consequences of a malware attack that succeeds because you didn’t have the latest patches.

Your business has multiple machines and multiple employees, so tracking which patches have been installed on which machines can be difficult. Ensuring consistent patch levels and consistent protection levels across your entire infrastructure by creating an automated process that automatically deploys patches.

 

Prescient Solutions can create a robust, automated process that installs patches and validates their successful installation. Any failures are corrected, either through trying the installation again or through falling back to a consistent prior version. Thorough tracking of your inventory, version, and patch levels ensures the status of your systems is always known. Contact us for a free infrastructure assessment to identify your vulnerabilities and decide the best way to get your systems patched up quickly.

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