By Talia Zayas for Forum Info-Tech / September 17, 2019 / Topic: Computer Service
For most people, computer updates – and Windows updates in particular – might seem like little more than a nuisance imposed on them by the marriage of modern business and technology. Managed IT services help mitigate some of your trepidation, but here is why you should stop worrying and just install them.
1. No one likes waiting for updates to install, so why bother? Of course, this is completely understandable. We all have work to do, and despite what your managed it service provider says, the prospect of waiting for updates to install can seem like an obstacle to getting things done. Reinforcing this perception is the fact that many updates don’t seem to change much, and what they do change might result in something less desirable than how things were before. So, what is the point of all these updates anyway? If they don’t produce any noticeable improvement (and might even cause problems!), then why should anyone want to install them?
2. Updates are a key component of security While many updates might not appear to make a difference, certain updates bolster a system’s defenses against the ever-evolving landscape of threats devised by malicious actors. To give an example, Windows systems that are not current on updates may be vulnerable to a notorious exploit known as EternalBlue, knowledge of which was made public back in April of 2017. EternalBlue makes it possible for unscrupulous individuals to infect unpatched systems with malware – and ransomware in particular. As you may know, ransomware is an especially severe form of malware that renders the files on a system inaccessible until a ransom has been paid. Once one system has been compromised, the infection can rapidly spread to other systems on a network. It is not uncommon for this type of attack to bring down an entire organization for days or even weeks, and full recovery is only possible if backups were being maintained before the outbreak. Thus, while it might seem like an inconvenience to have to deal with updates every few weeks, it could be the difference between a few hours of downtime and a potentially unmitigated disaster.
3. A good IT team can ease the burden However, the update process doesn’t need to be painful. Because not all updates address critical vulnerabilities like EternalBlue, many updates can be postponed or that might not need to be installed at all. Updates of this variety typically add features or correct known issues that, while bothersome, don’t pose a threat to the security or integrity of a company’s data. Microsoft even categorizes their updates to make it easier to distinguish between those that ought to be installed right away – these updates are identified as “important” – and those that can be installed later without putting the business at risk.
Given that there are updates that aren’t crucial to maintaining the security of a company’s IT systems, a good patch management strategy can help to strike the right balance between protecting the business and enabling employees to be productive. To achieve this, a qualified IT team will engage with the broader community of IT professionals and conduct thorough testing before approving updates for installation on the systems in an organization.