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, there are a lot of people who don’t ask questions about technology because they feel like their questions might be stupid. For example, having an updated operating system is a term that is tossed around a lot 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? Another example is when businesses are warned by security experts to make sure that their technology is ‘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 seem foolish.
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, however, that isn’t always the case. It’s important to remember that, at the very least, you should make sure that your PCs and servers are all running operating systems that are still being 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 seems to be working just fine, but we can safely say that it's likely a lot cheaper than a ransomware attack or hack of your network. Seriously.
How do security patches play into network safety? Why are they so important?
That being said, 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. That’s why there are countless amounts of software manufacturers and security firms that are constantly trying to find those vulnerabilities before they are discovered by criminals, then creating patches for them which they then release to the public to try and 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, accounting; data is critical for your business to function. Just think about a day without access to your data or technology to really understand why it is important for your files to be updated regularly. Oh, and for those who think that backup only needs to be run a few times a year, think about coming in tomorrow and only having access to data from six months ago. Not a good situation to even think about!
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. You know, just in case...
When it comes to your business’ IT, there are no stupid questions - especially when the future of your business might depend on the answer. BNMC will be here to answer any questions that might come up about IT for SMBs, now and in the future! Call 978-482-2020 to ask an IT expert your question!