Especially with so many people claiming to be tech-savvy, asking a question about IT can be a bit nerve wracking. Because of this hesitation, many people don’t ask because they fear that their questions might be foolish. For example, an 'updated operating system' is a term that is tossed around by IT professionals, and even some not-so-professionals.
Still, many users are confused on the topic. Why is your operating system’s version important? Why does it matter if I have Windows 10 or not? Is your technology ‘up-to-date’ or ‘updated’ in order to help your business remain secure against a malware attack or hacking attempt? What does ‘patched’ really mean?
Let’s take a look at a few very common questions that many people ask. For everyone who asks relevant questions, there are even more people who hesitate to do so because they are concerned it’ll make them appear naive.
Why is Operating System version important?
In an ideal world, all of your company's devices will be equipped with the newest operating systems, whether that be the latest version of iOS, Windows, Android, Windows Server, etc. In reality, that isn’t always the case. You should make sure that your PCs and servers are all running operating systems that are actively patched. Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2000, and many other operating systems have reached ‘end of life’ (EOL) and are no longer actively patched, or updated, by their manufacturers. Any machine that uses an OS that has reached EOL, to access a network, puts that whole network, and all machines on it, at risk. Upgrading your EOL operating system might seem to be an unnecessary expense, especially if that OS is working just fine, but we can safely say that it's less costly than a ransomware attack or hack of your network.
How do security patches play into network safety? Why are they so important?
Even the newest operating systems will have the occasional vulnerabilities. It’s important that you are regularly performing maintenance and patching your devices. Cyber criminals are always looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities that they can write malware to exploit. There are countless amounts of software manufacturers and security firms that are constantly seeking those vulnerabilities, before they are discovered by criminals. Patches are created, and then released to the public, to prevent those vulnerabilities from being exploited on your workstations, devices, or network.
How important is data backup, really?
The short answer: Data backup is very important. The reason is simple. Your data is the lifeblood of your business. As businesses turn toward digital records, updates, communication, payment, storage, invoices, and accounting; data is critical for your business to function. Imagine a day without access to your data or technology and you can understand why it is important for your files to be updated regularly. If you think that backup needs to run only a few times a year, then think about coming into the office tomorrow to find only your data from six months ago. Not a good situation!
Why does it matter where I store my backup?
Think about it, even if you are regularly backing up your workstations, it’s important to make sure your backups are stored somewhere safe. For example, storing them on-site normally means you're storing them on another device - like a workstation or server - that is connected to your network. In the event that your network gets hacked or your building is struck by a disaster, like a fire or a tornado, your backup might be lost. Having at least one copy of your backup stored off site is a great idea. Many businesses have multiple offsite storage locations.
When it comes to your business’ IT, there are no ridiculous questions - especially when the future of your business might depend on the answer. CTN Solutions will be here to answer any IT questions for SMBs, now and in the future! Call (610) 828-5500 to ask an IT expert your question!