It’s often an inevitable part of using technology. You’ll be in the middle of an important document, and suddenly you feel the computer pause and a software update message pops up. You click it away thinking that you’ll do it later, but many times later ends up being quite a while.
The problem with that scenario is that a software update that’s not applied in a timely manner can leave your computer and network at risk. They often contain vital security patches for found and exploited system vulnerabilities.
Whether it’s a computer, server, or network switch, software updates are a part of life, and while they can be annoying, they’re also designed as a protection against a data breach, along with continuous system monitoring.
One recent data breach that exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans happened to credit reporting agency Equifax. SSNs, home addresses, birth dates, and other sensitive information was exposed. Had a two month-old software update been applied, this major breach would have never happened.
What’s Typically Contained in a Software Update?
It’s true that not all software updates are created equal, but all can be equally important when it comes to the security and performance of your computer, network switches, or server.
Nearly every part of your I.T. infrastructure can require an update:
- Operating systems for computers & mobile devices
- Software applications
- Network switches
- Printers, routers, and other hardware
When you get that update prompt, it means that the manufacturer or developer of a particular hardware or software has improved it and has put the code to add the new updates into an update installation package.
Some updates can take a few seconds, such as those for mobile apps. Some can take 5-10 minutes, which may be the case for an Office 365 software update. Others are more intense. Usually major operating system updates can take over an hour or two to complete.
An update can include any of the following:
- Feature additions
- Bug fixes
- Security patches of vulnerabilities
- Driver updates
- System utility updates
Ways to Update Your Devices
Most of us are familiar with the prompt to update software on a device, this gives us the opportunity to click a button to update immediately, or to do it later. The danger is that “later” might never come, meaning computers are left vulnerable to be hacked.
Updates can also be found for most software in the main menu by clicking “check for updates.” This is true of operating systems as well as desktop applications, such as Slack.
Automatic updates are another way your system can get updated. While they ensure a timely update, they can also cause your computer to slow to a crawl without warning.
One of the most efficient ways for a business to ensure all their devices are being updated in a timely manner and in a way that doesn’t drag down their productivity is by signing up for a Managed I.T. Services plan. At Texas I.T. Pros, we offer several tiered plans including managed updates… so we handle them all for you.
Why Updating Your Devices is Important
What happens if you don’t update your devices regularly? You might not notice anything at first, but inevitably, you’ll run into problems soon enough, just like Equifax did.
Here are some of the most common problems you can run into if you’re not updating in a timely manner.
The most severe problem is that security vulnerabilities will go unchecked, which means your devices and network are much more susceptible to a data breach. Patches are generally the result of a hacker finding something in software code to exploit and the software manufacturer patching up that security hole.
When you don’t update, you’re leaving that hole open and inviting hackers to take advantage of it.
Bugs and Errors
While some users don’t want to update too soon because they fear a bug will cause something to stop working correctly, updates are generally created to fix bugs and errors in software. Some may be more noticeable than others.
Hardware or Software Conflicts
Another part of many updates is code that fixes conflicts a software or operating system may have with other programs or hardware. If you don’t apply these updates, it means that you could be missing out on an efficiency and productivity improvement.
If you happen to be using one version of a particular program, like Mac Pages, if your colleague has already updated their version, but you haven’t, you may find that you can no longer open the Pages files that they send you.
The latest major Windows 10 update included the ability to do a “master search” from your search bar of files, websites, documents, and more. This time-saving feature is an example of the types of improvements that are often rolled out in new software updates. If you don’t apply yours, then you could be missing out.
Get a Handle on Updates with Managed I.T. Services
Signing up for Managed I.T. Services with Texas I.T. Pros offers you both peace of mind that your technology is secure and running smoothly and also helps you gain control over your I.T. budget.
Contact us today to discuss your needs and we’ll customize a package just for you. Call 940-239-6500 or use our contact form.