Updating your business software is one of your best protections against cyber-attack, but actually going through and running the updates is a task that often gets overlooked. I would go as far as saying that keeping your equipment and software up-to-date is as important as having an antivirus program on all of your machines.
Emergency updates are a killer
Just between us, most businesses update their software only when the repair techs come to fix a major breakage. The techs run the updates before they leave, then the systems sit there with ever-widening security gaps… until another breach happens and the techs are called back for another band-aid solution. Emergency only updates in a break/fix model are a great little earner for those techs, not so good for your uptime or budget.
Finding time for maintenance
To keep your business up and running securely, you need someone who lives and breathes updates. They’ll need to have top tech skills so they know when and how to apply all the patches, and how to make sure all your other tech is playing nice (and do it all after-hours). If you have an in-house IT specialist, you’re set – and they should already have an update plan. But if you don’t have a qualified IT team member, outsourcing to managed services is the perfect solution. You get highly skilled technicians remotely applying your network updates after hours.
For the DIY’er
Many businesses may not think they have the budget for outsourcing IT to another company. I would personally argue that it costs you more in the long run, but that’s me…If you really do want to keep up-to-date on your own, there is a program I can suggest to make your life easier. PatchMyPC Free Updater is a program that will automatically look for installed programs and install any necessary updates. It does not perform Windows updates, and it has to be run manually, but instead of downloading and running each program separately, this one can do it all in one click. Download it to the desktop and run it every week on each machine to make sure things stay current!
What else needs to be checked?
Beyond running security patches, it’s important to keep your business moving forward. Here are a few areas our techs look at as part of managed services:
Hardware health: The last thing you want is days of downtime after a piece of hardware dies a spectacular death, dragging other components down with it. By not staying on top of your hardware health, you’re opening yourself up to lost productivity, lost income and unknown delays. Remote monitoring software can immediately alert to failures in critical components like hard drives.
Operating system expiry: While it’s great that you have a preferred OS, keeping it after the manufacturer ceases support can leave your business wide open for attack. It’s simply not a good combination. If you are still using Windows XP or Vista in your business environment, we need to talk!
Legacy programs: Updates to your software have the potential to disrupt older programs, either resulting in errors, slow performance or even downtime. With technology advancing so fast, we often find additional requirements with an update, such as extra processing power, memory or graphics.