You have probably seen the notification popup on your home or work computer prompting you to apply updates. Some of us choose to apply them and some of us are too busy to be bothered. Well, if you are wondering whether taking the time to install these patches is worth it or not, I’m here to tell you it is.
Before I tell you why it’s so important, we should talk about whythese patches are in the first place. Most major software you install on your computer includes a program to allow it to update itself. This allows software to download new features to enhance itself and security updates that patch discovered vulnerabilities. For this article, we are going to focus on Microsoft Patches and why it is important to install them.
Two reasons why updating is so important
The first reason it is important is because downloading the latest patches often improves your computer’s performance. Microsoft is constantly receiving feedback from the millions of Windows users around the globe and updating their software based on this gained knowledge. Through this feedback, they discover little bugs in the software that they fix and release a patch, or they create new features that get installed into the software with a particular patch. Although many of the updates are small changes, one by one they are most likely making you more productive and your staff more productive throughout the day.
But the second reason is the most important one. The Microsoft Windows Operating System (Windows) controls the operation of your computer and holds all your most important data. At home, this can be your family pictures to your bank account information stored in Quicken. At the office, your Windows computer is your gateway to all your company data. For many, this means stored data like your intellectual property, client information, patient information, payroll information, accounts payable and accounts receivable data in QuickBooks. Basically, everything needed to run your business. And protecting this data is another reason why it is important to keep your computer systems patched. What Microsoft also releases patches for are known security vulnerabilities. You see, Microsoft receives information all the time notifying them when a vulnerability has been discovered in their software by independent groups of “White Hats”, ethical hackers, and other software manufactures that write code for software installed on Windows. When these vulnerabilities are discovered, Microsoft quickly develops a fix and releases the patch. But when this happens, they are also simultaneously announcing that a new vulnerability in Windows exists.
Many malicious hackers out there look for these announcements and develop their own virus to exploit this security flaw to install their payload onto your computer. These hackers “Black Hats” understand many Windows users at home and many offices do not regularly patch their computers, so there is a high probability their software will be able to install itself. Ransomware like WannaCry and Petya are perfect examples of software that was extremely
devastating to many organizations but also extremely easy to prevent by just keeping the computer systems patched.
I have story after story I can share with you of organizations that have been dealing with software issues that were easily fixed by a quick update. And stories of organizations hit by viruses that exploit known vulnerabilities with the fix already released. And the bummer is they were all so easy to prevent. So, if you want to see productivity gains in yourself and your staff, keep your computers systems patched. And if you want to protect your company and client data, keep your computer systems patched. And if you just want your computer system to work day in and day out and be an asset to your organization, then…….yeah, you got it. Keep your computer systems patched.