Software is everywhere, we can not live without it. For those who grew up in the 80's and 90's remember the passion for desktop hardware, swapping out RAM, Hard Drives, CPU's etc … it was fun and easy to give your computer some much needed boost. Today, with the exception of mobile phones, hardware has been delegated to the backseat and software is front and center in many forms. The layers of software continue to grow – we now have software running as firewalls and virtual machines replacing hundred physical hardware boxes. We can live or die by the software in our lives and in our business environments, which is why it is so important to keep them up to date.
If I put this in the perspective of Cybersecurity, the attack surface has grown over the last 10-15 years and it's not slowing down. This gives an attacker more vectors, or opportunities, to attack you or your business. Anywhere you have software running, whether you know it or not, becomes a hole that could be exploited. Everyone loves those wifi-connected "secure" door locks for your home, so convenient right? Sure they can be, but they can also be hacked in minutes with minimal effort – there is a 42 page how-to guide from Defcon, an organization of ethical hackers, showing the world how easy it is.
So what does this mean for you and your business. It means software must be kept up to date as quickly and as safely as you can. This reduces the attack surface, giving a would-be criminal hacker, less points of weakness to exploit. You do not want to be in the press. Some of the largest companies, the latest being Equifax, became the center of media attention all because they failed to adequately patch a network component. We break it down for those who want to learn more about this particular example – Equifax Data Breach 2017.
Reasons to keep your software up to date:
SECURITY! For the above noted reasons … do not make it easy for an attacker to exploit a known vulnerability.
STABILITY – Typically, software updates not only reduce security holes that could bring your systems down, but they increase stability so they are less likely to break for any other reason.
COMPATIBILITY – New software likes to sit on new software, if you want to keep up with the times, you'll need to keep up to date.
Testing will be your best friend – always test your software on non-mission critical hardware and in test or non-production environments. You want to keep your software up to date, but you do not want to break anything else in the process, so test, test, test, then deploy.
Updates protect your business and employees – so it is worth the time and attention. If your company needs help with this topic or anything else related to Cybersecurity, reach out to us to see how we can help you protect your business.