Security Patches — There Is A Better Way to Update

January 15, 2020

Software updates often come at the worst moment. You leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

Or you go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a “Windows is updating. Do not power off” message. Argh!

You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep your clients data and your important documents safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features and remove outdated ones. Security patches protect from attacks that could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

Updating is a pain but oh so important

Windows update screen

The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries around the world. Among those infected were the National Health Service, Telefonica, FedEx the Russian Interior Ministry, and more, all because businesses weren’t keeping their computers updated. Later ransomware called Petya used the same vulnerabilities, despite the large amounts of publicity around WannaCry and the fact that Microsoft had already released a patch.

And still, people don’t bother updating!

According to a recent survey, 40% of respondents didn’t update their machines when prompted, almost 25% required a second prompt. Amazingly almost 45% of respondents actually worried that installing the update would weaken their computer’s security!

And don’t think that keeping Windows is enough. Cybercriminals don’t just attack the operating system, so you need to be keeping everything up to date. Therefore you’ll also need to be patching third-party applications such as Java, your internet browser or your office suite. Adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, where employees bringing their own devices to the workplace, provides both advantages and disadvantages. Security is a major concern and overlooking security updates for these devices is like leaving your window open and being surprised when a criminal gets in.

Equifax’s failure to update a Java virtual machine proved costly. The company lost more than $5 billion in market cap, and the CEO lost his job when hackers accessed over 145 million credit reports in 2017.

Businesses need a better way to keep your software security patches current.

Keeping security patches current, conveniently

‘Update Now’ can be distributive but you can avoid this by setting up automated patching.

Determine when downtime will be least disruptive, and schedule patches for that time. You can then update an entire department when they aren’t there, or patch individual computers around the employee’s schedule. For instance, if your accountant comes in only on Tuesdays, you wouldn’t patch their computer on that particular day.

This approach also creates a consistency your employees can plan around, which allows them to manage all security updates without you having to lift a finger.

It is possible to do some automation yourself but the most effective way to do this is to outsource patching to a managed service provider (MSP) like Your IT Department. We install remote monitoring and management (RMM) software to manage all security updates without you having to lift a finger.

The RMM software gives us visibility into your business technology. We can track your hardware, software, and network environments and get ahead of issues. This sets your business up to respond faster to any events.

Using the RMM, the MSP can automate software patching and OS updates to reduce the hassle.

Conclusion

Automating or outsourcing software updates will improve both your security and compliance. Your employees will get to utilise the very latest features. A reliable, secure system can improve stability, speed processes, and drive increased productivity.

Partner with Your IT Department to get expert help in determining patching priorities, and get your software monitored and issues resolved remotely.

To get in touch visit our ‘contact us‘ page or call 0115 8220200.

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