What are security updates and why are they important?

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18 August, 2017

The software used in your business should be subject to regular maintenance to avoid costly IT downtime.  A critical aspect of IT maintenance involves updating software with newly released security updates.

What are security updates?


Security updates helps maintain and keep the software running at an optimum level.  Software developers issue them whenever they spot a ‘hole’ in their software susceptible to hackers.  The recent WannaCry ransomware attack which struck the NHS was the result of one of these ‘holes’.  While it is believed, its spread could have been prevented if the users had installed the latest software updates.

Software updates which contain new security updates are not always obvious.  Developers will not necessarily make it clear whether they contain security updates, partly because they do not want to alert hackers to the issue.

How to protect your business

You can expect to receive security updates routinely and whenever the supplier becomes aware of a potential security breach.  The best way to protect your business is to arrange for software updates to install automatically. This means you are not reliant upon your IT team to perform manual updates.  Or worse, hoping that busy staff will install the update manually.

Automatic updates

Arrange for your automatic updates to take place at the times when your business is least busy.  At night, for example – so there is minimum disruption.  They also provide an audit trail so that you can rest assured knowing that PCs, tablets and mobile devices are up-to-date. As just one out-of-date piece of IT equipment could leave your business vulnerable.

If you are not sure how to arrange for automatic software updates.  Our network security services team can help.

Manual updates

For some businesses, auto updates are not appropriate because they can cause disruption.  For example, they could restrict access to systems which staff need throughout the working day.

If you do not use auto-updates you need to ensure there is a process in place to keep all software up-to-date.  Clients who use our Managed IT Support Services receive remote monitoring to ensure security updates are installed whenever necessary.

Common software updates

Each business uses a different mixture of software so it is important to make a thorough list.  To ensure automatic or manual updates are arranged or maintained.  Typically, however, everyone in your company will use:

  • A web browser. You may have decided on the use of one web browser for all users in your company, or you may allow people to use whichever they prefer.  You can set all browsers to provide automatic updates when you set up the PC or mobile device.  If you think you are using an out-of-date version, before you upgrade the browser you are using and to download the latest one, you may want to consider your options.
  • Microsoft Windows and Office365.  Again, you can set each PC or device to download and install the latest updates by going to Windows Update within the operating system.

Or:

  • Apple macOS.  If you are using an Apple computer, then you will receive a prompt to let you know when a software update is available.  If you haven’t seen an update notice recently you need to check for updates by visiting the Updates menu in the App Store.

Protecting your business

Software updates should be part of your overall network security, alongside a robust firewall and anti-virus, spyware and malware protection.  In addition, it is worth auditing your IT security on a regular basis to ensure you stay one step ahead as a security issue could have severe consequences.  We can provide ongoing managed IT support to ensure your systems are sufficiently robust.

If you have any questions about any aspect of your IT security, please get in touch and a member of our network security team will be pleased to help.

You may also find the following articles of interest: Do you have sufficient firewall protection? and What is a content filtering system?

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