Updates and Upgrades, why keeping up is critical

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Tony Anscombe

Computers, tablets, smartphones and IoT (Internet of Things) devices are complex and have both vulnerabilities and weaknesses that we may not be aware of.

We are continually bombarded with messages to update, upgrade, patch and download new versions of apps and operating systems. The attitude of ‘don’t fix something that isn’t broken’ means that many updates are not deployed on company networks to avoid the inconvenience of scheduling and possible compatibility issues.

Keeping operating systems and applications up to date is one of the best ways to protect devices from being hacked. Cybercriminals seek out vulnerabilities in software and exploit them to gain access to devices and company data. Installing the recommended patches, updates and upgrades helps fix the vulnerabilities and keeps devices secure.

There can be additional reservations about installing updates. For example, will all the business-critical applications that rely on the software work after the update? The need to test the compatibility of the update should be a priority, especially when an update is marked as a critical security patch and without which there is a higher risk of cybercriminals penetrating the layers of defense used to keep the company assets protected. 
Keep in mind too, that as soon as software products launch, their creators are already working on updates with new features and improved performance. These updates support the performance of the product through predetermined levels of support which usually taper off ahead of the product’s End of Life (EOL).

This journey is especially important with IT security software, since threats are constantly evolving. To counter advances by cyber-criminals, vendors need to constantly improve detections, performance and user interface.