It’s that little alert on your desktop. The “upgrades available” indicator when you check your computer, or when your smartphone tells you that it’s going to update later while you’re sleeping, and you defer it to another time. What if you miss an email or a text? Nah, you don’t need to do that update, your phone is working fine.

WRONG!

One way that you can keep your cybersecurity stance and digital-identity safer, is to allow for those updates to happen as soon as they are released – assuming that it is from an application or program that you have chosen to use or that is required by your workplace. Sometimes these updates take hours, and sometimes you don’t even notice that they are happening, but regardless of the impact that they might have on you as a matter of convenience, they need to happen.

Within these updates are fixes to bugs that might affect the performance of the program, but they also include updates to close loopholes or security issues that might have been discovered by the developer as a way for hackers to compromise your data. It might even include a new feature that you’re going to enjoy – new filter anyone?

However, and this is a big however, some of these very necessary updates may impact other applications and functions. So, it is important to realize that the “fixes” that come out from one manufacturer may impact another. For instance, there have been a number of Microsoft updates for Windows 10, that have in turn interrupted printer applications for companies like Brother and Kyocera. When this happens, your IT professional can help “roll back” the update to its previous version or be able to add a new driver to get the applications to talk to each other again. Some companies then avoid doing updates because of this, but it leaves them truly vulnerable. Remember the updates are intended to shore up defenses and to make applications more secure or function better.

The general rule of thumb is to do the updates, and just be aware that if something that worked yesterday, stops working the following the update, contact your IT partner to discuss. This can happen with automatic updates as well, so just be advised.

Again, patching security flaws is an easy way for your security to be tightened. Without addressing them, you leave an easy way for hackers to get in there and steal your information or deploy ransomware, rendering your equipment useless. Even worse, hackers can use these flaws to gain access to a larger environment like the one that supports your place of business. For instance, since your smartphone usually contains more than your personal information, keeping it updated means that you are looking out for everyone, including friends and colleagues who may risk exposure through your device.

Routine updates are one simple, but effective way to strengthen your security posture and keep hackers away. The moral of the story here?  Be sure to keep ALL of your devices updated. There are ways to configure automatic updates so that you don’t have to worry about maintaining them, and if you are unsure about how to do that, give us a call.