A new update is available, would you like to install it now?
Anyone who uses software or devices such as mobile phones, laptops etc. will have more than likely seen this message pop up on a regular basis, and somehow it’s always at an inconvenient time! That 5pm deadline looming does not allow time to wait potentially hours for your device to update; Or you need your mobile to act as a SatNav for the long car journey you are about to embark on and can’t wait for an update to finish. And so all too often the question is met with the same response: ‘remind me later’.
After all, how important can they really be?
As it happens, very important.
On the surface, these updates seem to be just subtle feature upgrades or improvements that you are unlikely to ever notice but often, many updates include underlying Operating System and security improvements that are crucial in helping protect devices from cyber-attacks. The NHS found this out the hard way in 2017 when outdated computer systems facilitated the ”largest cyber hack in its history”(1), and similar news about successful cyber attacks on well-known organisations is becoming almost a daily occurrence. In fact evidence suggests there were over 4600 reported data breaches in 2017 in the UK alone(2). More often than not, the reason behind the breach is down to be an outdated device or software, and with cyber-criminals being more abundant than ever, systems with a shoddy update policy are easy prey.
Therefore, it is always a good idea to check for updates on all software and devices that you use, with the most essential being your computer’s Operating System (OS) and web browser. Operating Systems are the bedrock of everything we do on our devices and web browsers are the gateway to the world wide web. You wouldn’t leave your house with the door unlocked and your new TV on display – it’s the same principle. Although nearly all web browsers are clever enough to update themselves, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick search to make sure your browser of choice is still current and supported. Operating Systems require manual prompting and rebooting to get their fortification, and instructions on how to check that your Operating System is up to date are also easily available online.
What can be done?
At Bristol IT, we run monthly infrastructure health checks for our customers to ensure all of their devices, from physical servers, WAPS, NAS devices, and firewalls, to virtual machines, backup software and antivirus, are fully up to date and functioning. We also assist in setting up automated services such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), to ensure all of our customers can rely on the automated distribution of updates and hotfixes released for Microsoft products to computers in their network.
So next time you’re interrupted by an update prompt, you might think twice about brushing it under the rug. Those few minutes of interruption could prove to be a life saver. For the sake of your cyber safety, stay updated.