It seems that everything needs to be updated these days. If it’s not your operating system popping up a window when you’re in the middle of something, it’s your phone telling you there are 15 updates waiting even though you just updated everything a few days ago.
Most people are not ready to stop what they’re doing when a software, app, or operating system update flashes up on their screen, so they tend to click the “later” option or just ignore them all together.
As part of our managed IT services for home and business users, we make sure all updates and security patches are installed in a timely manner, and the first time we work with a client there are often multiple updates waiting to be installed.
A survey by Google found that just 38% of users update their software automatically or immediately upon receiving a notification. The truth is that many people find it annoying to stop what they’re doing and also find software updates a hassle.
As a result, many computers end up not getting updated regularly and can go months without installing updates and security patches that the software maker has made available.
So, what’s the worst that can happen if you put off those updates?
While you may not immediately notice anything from a user perspective, there are plenty of bad things that can happen when you put off installing operating system, software, and firmware updates.
Why Installing Computer Updates is So Important
An update just came out, so you have a while before it’s really going to matter, right? Wrong!
The security patches that come out in updates are usually security fixes for newly found vulnerabilities in a software. How did a software developer find that vulnerability? It’s often because a hacker found it first.
So, by the time software developer issues the patch, there’s a good chance that hackers are already selling exploit kits that take advantage of the issue the patch is designed to fix.
The Worst Thing That Can Happen
The worst thing that can happen if you leave your security updates unapplied is a data breach of your device and network.
Let’s take a look at a few victims of unapplied security patches as an example of real world circumstances that resulted when a software update was ignored.
In 2017, there was a major data breach of credit reporting agency, Equifax. The breach exposed the personal data of 143 million consumers and was completely preventable.
More than two months before the breach happened a security patch became available for a web application vulnerability. That patch was never applied, and that was the vulnerability that the hackers exploited to gain access to user data.
Another example is the WannaCry ransomware attack that hit multiple organizations around the world. One of the most high-profile victims was the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. They (and many other victims) had failed to install a security patch that would’ve fixed the software vulnerability and prevented the ransomware infection.
60% of data breaches are due to unpatched system vulnerabilities.
By ignoring those updates, you leave your device, data, and network exposed and easily susceptible to being hacked.
What Else Can Happen When You Don’t Update?
Security issues aren’t the only bad thing that can happen when you don’t apply software and operating system updates. Here are other reasons you’ll want to put a regular update strategy into place if you don’t already have one.
- Bug Fixes: Updates often fix bugs and other software problems. So, if you don’t apply them, you’ll continue to receive errors caused by bugs and may not even realize there is a fix out there for them.
- New Features: You’ll often get new features in OS and software updates that can enhance the value of a program and add efficiency to your workflow. You’ll be missing out on those if you’re not regularly installing new updates.
- Fixing Conflicts: With so many applications and hardware types out there, it’s easy for conflicts to arise unintentionally between programs. Updates can be issued that solve these software and hardware conflicts, and that’s another fix you’ll miss out on from not installing them.
- File Incompatibilities: If your client has upgraded to the next version of a program, but you haven’t, you might not be able to open a file they send you in a common program, like Mac’s Pages. In order to ensure you’re not going to be locked out of newer file versions, you’ll need to regularly update your software.
Take the Stress & Frustration Out of Updates!
Cris’s Tech Repair can take care of all your device updates for you, so you never have to worry that a vital patch hasn’t been applied and won’t have to take time out of your schedule to deal with all those updates.
Contact us today to sign up for a home or business managed services plan. Call 561-985-4961 or contacting us online.