How many of us have ignored the alert on our computer to update software – especially anti-virus protection?
If you're in the middle of something, you could have every intention of updating the software later.
Every day you delay is another chance for a hacker to find the hole in your cybersecurity defense and attack you with ransomware or some other malware attack.
It's like running your car with the “change oil” light on. You'll be fine for a while, but eventually you're engine is going to seize up.
When you don't update and patch your business software, there's a good chance that eventually you're going to be infected by a computer virus.
There's a constant back-and-forth between software companies and cybercriminals. The companies release software. Cybercriminals look for holes and cracks in the security and write malware to exploit those cracks. Software companies issue patches and updates to fill in the holes and cracks. And then lather, rinse, repeat in a never-ending cycle.
Outdated or expired anti-virus software is nearly as bad as not having security software installed at all.
I've written about how SMBs are targets for hackers already (read that here). Here's the short version: attacks, especially ransomware, on SMBs continue to increase yearly.
Here are a few tips to help you keep your network and business information protected.
Did you receive an alert recently? Stop reading and go update your software. Now.
Make sure you're signed up for automatic updates related to your anti-virus software. Take the time to reboot immediately after updating to ensure that the software updates take effect. Don't forget about installing spyware too!
Out-of-Date Software and Risk – Some Stats
There is a statistical difference in infection rates between protected and unprotected computers. The 2014 version of Microsoft's Security Intelligence Report discovered (not really a surprise) that devices not centrally managed were more likely to have out-of-date anti-virus software.
Devices with up-to-date anti-virus software were infected at a .6% rate. The percentage of computers without any protection at all that were infected was 2.4%. Computers with outdated software provided slightly better protection – 2.2% of those were found to be infected.
Update! It makes a difference.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “I'll just take my chances.” Why? Every business relies on information to operate. If ransomware locks you out of your business information, you could go out of business (that's not an exaggeration). It only takes minutes. Protect your information – and business – by making sure everyone's anti-virus software is up-to-date.
Anti-Virus: Not Enough Alone to Ensure Security
As important as anti-virus software is, it's only the beginning of your office security. A layered approach including technology such as firewalls, data backup, and data encryption will combine to keep cybercriminals away from your valuable data.
Even the best in-house IT departments can become overwhelmed with IT tasks and fall behind on keeping security up-to-date. As hackers become more sophisticated and the hiring gap for cybersecurity professionals grows (there aren't enough qualified candidates for open positions), the dangers of being breached will grow.