The risks of not updating your software
Blog|by Leanne Bevan|28 September 2022
Having looked at multi-factor authentication and strong passwords, updating software is the third topic we will discuss as part of our Cyber Security Awareness Month 2022 blog series (though if you're reading this after 2022, many of these points below still stand).
What is patch management?
Patch management is the process of distributing and applying updates to the software. These patches are often necessary to correct errors (also referred to as “vulnerabilities” or “bugs”) in the software.
Patch management can be managed centrally by the IT team, providing peace of mind that all employee devices are up to date.
What are the risks of not updating your software regularly?
By not updating or patching your software, your apps become more vulnerable to threats.
As IT Governance mentions, prompt patching is essential for effective cyber security. When a new patch is released, attackers will quickly identify the underlying vulnerability in the application and release malware to exploit it. If a criminal hacker can successfully attack before the target patches the vulnerability, there is a high risk of a data breach.
IT Governance goes on to note that a recent Ponemon Institute survey highlighted the scale of the problem, revealing that almost 60% of breaches suffered by organisations were because of unpatched vulnerabilities. The survey also found that organisations that avoided being breached rated their ability to patch vulnerabilities in a timely manner 41% higher than those that had suffered a breach.
Hackers and other cyber threats
Patch Management and software updates ensure your software is protected against bugs, hackers and other cyber threats that might arise. If you don’t regularly update it, your software becomes vulnerable.
As TechTarget states, threat actors see these vulnerabilities as open doors, enabling them to plant malware on people's systems.
Malware enables threat actors to take control of computers and steal information. Malware can also encrypt files, documents and other programs so they are unusable. Security patches block these open doors in the software to protect a device from attacks.
Plus, those that share a network with others need to be extra diligent. An infected device can unknowingly spread malware to others in a network, including colleagues, friends and family.
Cyber Essentials and other government-backed or industry regulations require software updates and patch management as part of their requirements. Many customers will only work with organisations that comply with these regulations.
Integration and improvements
If the software is not up to date, then it is less likely to integrate with other modern software and tools. And employees will be unhappy with software that doesn’t work with other tools they need or use, especially not secure and has bugs and glitches. This will result in lower productivity too.
In turn, that means the software will seem less suitable to customers and employees using the software. Compatibility is becoming more and more important as the tech industry grows.
Without updates, you also miss out on the latest features and performance improvements that could make your experience of the software even better.
Your company’s reputation can be at stake too, if hacked. If customers see that you don’t take the necessary precautions, they may lose trust in your organisation and the safety of their information, and therefore move elsewhere. Losing your customer loyalty and income.
But not only that, if the software is not kept up to date, employees and clients alike will think the tools in use are old, and then might choose to go to a competitor with a modern solution.
How can Grey Matter help?
Grey Matter works with a number of patch management software providers. Speak to our cyber security expert to discuss the options available to determine which best suits your needs.
We also have an Azure Monitoring Service that can provide additional insights into your cloud infrastructure and can highlight what needs updating and provides security alerts too.
Fill in the form below to find out more and book a consultation with our cyber security expert.
Our next blog will look at the implications of not protecting your business from phishing. We also recommend you take a look at our interview with Heimdal about cyber resilience.
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