Keeping Up with Updates

by | Oct 27, 2021 | IT Security

Our affection for our technology tends to hit us at both extremes: either we love it and can’t imagine life without it, or we want to shoot it. Many times the latter attitude comes when our devices start acting funny or non-responsive for no obvious reason. When this happens we fear two things. We wonder how we are going to accomplish whatever task we were trying to do, and we worry that our device might have been compromised. Two unsettling feelings, happening all at once.

Technology Traumas

Let’s look at an example of this scenario. An iPad’s air drop suddenly stops working. The user discovers this at the precise moment when he needs to print out a document for a customer. He doesn’t know why it stopped working; it was working the day before. He investigates. When he does, he will attempt to find out why the IPad’s air drop to the printer is non-functional and repair it, but if that does not work out he also hopes to find a workaround for the immediate problem, so the customer can be on her way. Perhaps sharing the document with another device in the office will work, then he can print it from there. But he discovers that the problem is not only the printer. His iPad shows no availability of any of the other devices in the office. The user is left feeling like he and his iPad have entered into the Technology Twilight Zone, with a document trapped on his device and a customer getting irritated.

The reality which goes with the technology traumas also tends to hit at extremes: either the trouble turns out to be a simple fix, or the trouble turns out to be a major malfunction or security breach. In our example, the iPad problem was due to the fact that the system was two updates behind. With a simple iOS update, everything was connecting properly again and the document could be printed. The user is fortunate, however. Updates are often in response to protect systems from newly discovered vulnerabilities. Being two updates behind can easily mean that the device is a good target for malware and bad actors.

Keeping devices up to date should be considered critical maintenance. This is true for the operating system, and it is true for all the major applications running on it.

How to Know Your Device and Applications are Up to Date

EXAMPLE: Chrome will put their alert for an update in the top right corner of the browser, at the drop-down menu. Click to expand the drop-down, and the topmost selection will be “relaunch to update Chrome”

Thankfully, most of the newer applications have support structures that process updates automatically. This is true for Microsoft 365, although it is still up to the user to execute a restart for the device to be fully armed with updated information. Other applications will prompt you with a notice when an update comes out. Browsers give prompts as well, requesting users to relaunch a session so updates can be implemented. Advancements in software management has improved the overall accessibility to updates and have simplified the processes for activating them, but it still falls on the user to be vigilant. The user must prioritize the need of rebooting, relaunching, and for phone apps, going to your preferred play store to download app updates. Every time a flaw is found and corrected, or when a new vulnerability is discovered and patched, responsible device management involves this follow-through.

Therefore, while keeping up with updates will reduce the number of times you feel that frustration of your device acting a little off, it might also save you from a far worse fate.

Bad actors are always looking for ways to breach your security and sneak malware into your network. Don’t make it easy for them. Keeping up with your updates is one easy preventative. If you would like a review of your system and have it scanned for any other possible vulnerabilities at any of its seven layers, we are ready to help.

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