Software Updates: Why They Matter to Your Cybersecurity
That means one of the most crucial ways to protect both yourself and your organization from malicious cyber attacks is regular software updates, including the operating system and every application that runs on your devices.
Why Outdated Software Leaves You Vulnerable
Cyber threats are constantly evolving and attackers are constantly searching for flaws in the system that they can exploit. Often, software updates include the fixes required to combat new forms of attack, but the success of these fixes relies solely on whether the software is actually updated by the user – whether that be at an organizational or individual level.
Failing to act on new updates leaves devices and systems extremely vulnerable to data breaches.
In fact, Microsoft reported in 2015 that most of its customers are breached via vulnerabilities that had patches released years ago, meaning they were completely avoidable had their customers simply updated their software. While in 2021, they reported yet again that there was a spike in attacks, with actors taking a “compromise first, monetize later” approach to take advantage of customer delays in updating their software.
How to Ensure Your Software Stays Up-To-Date
If you receive a software update notification, act on it as soon as possible. Whether it be the operating system on your mobile phones, tablets, and laptop, or application updates – especially your web browser and social media apps.
Or better yet, go one step further and…
Turn on Automatic Updates
Any legitimate software should include the option for automatic updates, so you receive the latest fixes to protect you from a data breach immediately upon their release.
This includes your operating system like Apple IOS and any applications like Microsoft Office or social media.
Only Download Software Updates From a Legitimate Source
Never download pirated or unlicensed versions of any software. They could contain malware that does far more harm than good.
This includes spotting and ignoring requests from fake pop-ups to download the latest update for a particular software. Pop-ups like this should never be followed.
Always check the legitimate company’s website for information on their latest updates.
Managing Software Updates as an Organization
37% of organizations admitted that they don’t even scan for vulnerabilities.
This number is staggering and leaves employees, customers, and the organization itself vulnerable to malicious attacks.
So how can companies tackle the threats posed by outdated software?
Creating understanding and awareness for cyber threats is a powerful way of tackling them by ensuring your staff are alert to potential threats.
Train staff on the importance of keeping their software up to date both at work and at home so they understand their role in maintaining the cyber security of themselves and the organization.
Maintaining Your IT Asset Inventory
As the essential foundation for effective cybersecurity in any organization, maintaining your IT asset inventory ensures your IT department understands the level of risk exposure and the devices that need to be included in automated updates.
Establish an Effective Security Testing Plan
Security testing uncovers vulnerabilities and weaknesses within your software and identifies the level of threat they present. This way, developers can prioritize the most pressing threats.
Without an effective testing plan, this process may not be undertaken properly, missing vulnerabilities in your systems. This goes hand in hand with ensuring everyone in your organization, and your customers, maintain the latest software versions, as once a threat is detected, the fix (patch) needs to be rolled out ASAP through a new software update.
Choosing the Right Security System
As an organization, the necessity to detect threats, roll out patches to combat them, and ensure the updates are carried out, are all part of your wider cybersecurity strategy.
If your current strategy isn’t providing your employees and customers with the highest level of security, RediMinds experts can assist you with implementing the right overall security strategy that suits your needs.
Get in touch today to find out more.