Why you shouldn't ignore software updates

Why you shouldn't ignore software updates

Nobody likes interruptions. This is certainly true for businesses and busy professionals who have productivity levels to meet and goals to accomplish every day.

However, some interruptions are necessary. Take software updates, for example. Though they can interrupt the daily workflow, software updates carry anything from user experience improvements, to the latest features, to critical security fixes.

Many software providers are constantly looking for ways to make their products better and more secure. By not keeping your software up-to-date, you are simply missing out.

Need more convincing? Here is why you should always make time to update software.

Outdated software is more vulnerable to malware

Not everyone uses technology for good. Many cyber criminals and hackers are always looking for ways to exploit software security vulnerabilities.

Many of harmful malware attacks often target software that most everyone uses, including computer operating systems and internet browsers. Should a malware attack be successful in compromising your software, you risk exposing sensitive information, such as financial information, Social Security numbers, home addresses, etc.

By updating your software, you can make sure that your systems and the information they contain are as protected as possible from these threats.

Better protect your documents with updates

Some malware can even take documents and other important information stored on your computer and lock it to prevent you from accessing it, remove it from your computer or delete it from your computer and send it to a remote server. This type of malware is called ransomware.

Like malware, ransomware also can target software security vulnerabilities. It can be used to try to access any sort of digital information you may store on your computer or through various programs. The attackers will typically lock access to the information until a ransom is paid.

In other malware attacks, this information could simply be released or shared with those who should not have access to private or sensitive data.

One person’s outdated software is another’s security risk

Should your computer or other device download a virus, it could then spread to others who share the network or who interact with you online. This could include family members, friends or people with whom you do business.

All it takes is one outdated software vulnerability to exploit. Many viruses can spread between computers and networks via email, flash drives, external or removable hard drives and more.

Don’t be the weak link in the chain that protects your and others’ private data.

Software updates can contain new features

Some software updates contain new or better features that can make the program more useful and better at serving its purpose. Not all of these features will be shiny bells and whistles - they could be a more behind-the-scenes update - but they still are important.

Software updates that contain significant new features are often referred to as upgrades rather than updates. Certain software companies may require users to purchase software upgrades rather than providing them for free.

Operating systems periodically go through complete and total upgrades. These can make changes to functionality, user experience and design.

Many operating systems will have updates released between upgrades, though. It is critical that you are always using the most updated version of your operating system that is available. Some of these updates can include key security risk fixes or important functionality enhancements.

You can tell whether a software update is actually a major upgrade by looking at version numbers. For example, a software that goes from version 1.0 to 2.0 is going through an upgrade. Changes from 1.0 to 1.1, or even 1.0.1 to 1.0.2, signify that the software is being updated. This is likely for improvements but not major modifications.

Device and application compatibility improves with software updates

Outdated software does not always work well with other software products that have been kept more up-to-date. If you want your hardware and systems to operate smoothly and efficiently, it is best to keep all software updated on schedule.

Software that has not been updated recently can also be taxing on your hardware. One of the most common causes of a slow computer is a program, or multiple programs, that are running in the background.

You can make sure your hardware does not struggle to keep up by making sure that you have installed the most recent drivers for your computer. You should also make sure to update any plugins for your web browser.

Updated software is better for users

Should you keep your software updated, you very likely will notice that your systems run more efficiently, like a well-oiled machine.

This can only lead to benefits, including an increase in productivity. It is best to update software soon after the update is made available. That way you are not left with a computer that needs to update multiple programs at once, which will take much more time.

It’s better to take a few minutes to update now rather than an hour later once the necessary updates have added up.

An even better option is to allow for your systems to download and install software updates automatically. If that’s an option, then you won’t need a reminder. Some programs, such as web browsers, update automatically by default, although you can disable this feature (not recommended).

Automatic updates are especially helpful for smartphone users, who use on average 30 different apps per month - and have twice that many installed on their phones.

Advanced Network Professionals can help keep your data secure

At ANP, we offer managed IT services for small and medium businesses that are tailored to fit each individual client’s specific needs. When it comes to security, we ensure that your software and hardware work together and don’t leave your network open to security vulnerabilities. Our team will analyze your unique workflow and help your company keep your data secured.

While our services include network design and security, software and hardware, they also encompass penetration testing, PBX design and installation, IT relocation services and much more.

Request a quote today to schedule an estimate.

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