Why Are Software Updates Important

windows update screen

Software Updates. Those annoying little pop up bubbles letting you know that a “new version” is available for download. Most people click out of the notification immediately. Ignoring any possible signs their computer could be telling them. They often think to themselves: ‘My computer is working fine’,  ‘I don’t have time to reboot’, ‘Do I really need to be installing this update?’ Have you found yourself falling victim to these sayings. Well, as it turns out, software updates are one of the most important things you can do with your computer. Chances are, if you don’t update, your system is more likely to get hijacked or spammed with malware. Think of it this way, it’s similar to a recall to replace a defective part in your car. If you ignore the recall, your car will not work properly.

Why are they important?
Software updates are important because they protect you from security concerns and also enhance your user experience.

Security Vulnerabilities:

Security is a complex topic. Criminals and hackers are constantly prodding and testing codes. They look for flaws that would enable them to steal information and take control of your computer. Lucky for you, there are also good people out there that search for the flaws. When a flaw is found the software vendor issues an update to fix the problem. They work to close the gap, fill the holes, and then release you the update.

Product Enhancements:

Not only are they important to protect you from the bad guys, but they also make your software better with product enhancements. These features will add extra functionality and make your application run more efficiently.

What Software applies?

All software is up for grabs and at risk for being hacked. Common software you could relate to include any of your mobile apps, email communications, and your laptop operating system. Adobe products are also common.

Failure to update leaves your system vulnerable to being attacked or compromised. Don’t give them an option to hack your computer. You can set your system to update automatically and alert you when there is a new update available. A good rule of thumb is to check for updates at least once a week.  No virus is the same and the way it attacks the system can be different. It’s better to be safe then sorry!

Kincaid’s Managed Services provides managed Microsoft and Third Party software updating for its clients’ machines. This allows us to keep track of the machines on your network which aren’t fully patched, and easily patch the machines in need. Keeping your network up-to-date with patching is just one of many best practices to combat security vulnerabilities.

Please take note that in April of 2014, Microsoft will no longer support the XP operating system. This means that patches will no longer be released for the OS, leaving any security vulnerabilities wide open and forever unresolved.

Kincaid can help you upgrade your aging infrastructure in your business to ensure your equipment and your business is protected.

Dan is the Chief Information Technology Architect at Kincaid Network Solutions. Connect with him on .

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How to Avoid a Cyber Attack

Yahoo! & Times Square Alliance Free WiFiIn many ways, modern technology has simplified our lives. We use it to accomplish easy tasks like banking and shopping on a daily basis. More importantly, modern technology has increased human capabilities over the years. However, with all this accessibility comes great risk.

Gone are the days when people used the Internet to pay bills and check emails without fear. Every time you connect to the Internet you become vulnerable to cyber attacks. In order to avoid being hacked, follow these easy tips:

Do not give personal information

While may seem like a no-brainer, it’s very important not to give your personal information to anyone you do not know. This includes over the phone and in an email. If someone contacts you claiming to be a retailer or collection agency, do not give him or her your personal information. Always ask for a name and callback number if you are even remotely suspicious. And remember, just because someone has some of your personal information that does not mean they are legit!

Set secure passwords

For nearly every account you create online, you are required to create a password. The key is to create a secure password that people are unlikely to figure out. We feel that the best approach to creating a secure password is to choose one that has letter and number combinations. Also, the longer the password the more likely it is to be secure. Using punctuation and symbols can also make your password even harder to decipher. After your passwords are created, write them down and do not share them with anyone.

Keep antivirus up to date

Installing an antivirus software program and keeping it up to date is critical for protecting your computer. There are many types of antivirus software available today that look for malware. Because new malware is discovered daily, it’s important to update your software regularly. Many antivirus programs offer automatic updating; all you have to do is enable the feature so that your software always has the most current signatures.

Connect to a secure network

In today’s Wi-Fi friendly world, it’s more important than ever to connect to a secure network. When you connect through a public Wi-Fi network, you are susceptible to being hacked. Reason being, anyone using the same Wi-Fi can monitor the information passing between your computer and the network if your connection is not encrypted. You should always avoid doing banking over public networks.

Use email wisely

Many people use email to keep in touch with friends and family. Email is also an important business tool. However, even if you have good security software on your computer, that doesn’t mean your friends and business partners have the same protection. Be extremely careful about what you share via email. For instance, never send personal information, such as your credit card or Social Security number, to another person through email. Instead, use the phone to share this private information.

By now you’ve heard all of the general recommendations for counteracting cyber attacks, including not giving out personal information, implementing secure passwords, using anti-virus software, connecting to secure networks, and being extra careful with email. We hope you can follow these network security suggestions.

Dan is the Chief Information Technology Architect at Kincaid Network Solutions. Connect with him on .

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Importance of Having a Business Continuity Plan

Being prepared for an emergency is the number one reason to have a business continuity plan. Disasters are inevitable and mostly unpredictable. And your business needs to be protected. Having a business continuity plan will ensure that when a disaster hits, your business can continue functioning—and without fail.

For a business, a disaster can mean a disruption of all or part of business operations. From a tiny hardware or software malfunction to universally recognized events such as earthquakes or floods. The effects of such disasters can range from small interruptions to a total business shutdown. How quickly a business recovers from an emergency depends on the planning done before the event takes place. So don’t wait!

Threats

In addition to natural disasters and hardware malfunctions, business should also be aware of cyber-terrorists and hackers. Hackers can seriously undermine a business’s entire operation. Businesses should perform a risk analysis of potential threats, including security testing, vulnerability assessment and penetration of the network infrastructure. After all, statistics show that more than 40 percent of companies that do not have a business continuity plan go out of business after a major disaster.

Creating a Plan

The process of creating a business continuity plan begins by identifying potential threats or risks, analyzing their likelihood and severity, and then ranking them in terms of their business priority. This plan must also include initiatives for IT, data and communications as well as important personnel and offsite safety locations. Keep in mind, there is no “one size fits all” template for a business continuity plan. Every business is unique and requires a plan of its own.

Emergency Support Services

Many businesses today have become increasingly reliant on technology to function. Therefore, having a business continuity plan is more critical than ever. If a company were to close down its entire network, employees would still need to access to their data and applications quickly and securely. For that reason, a business must have emergency support services, round the clock, in order to maintain the critical systems and processes.

Kincaid Network Solutions can prepare you for potential disasters by arming your company with a business continuity plan in order to increase your ability to recover. Our technical support services are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, and 365 days per year. No matter your interruption, our team of experienced IT professionals can provide you with a piece of mind. Contact us today!

Dan is the Chief Information Technology Architect at Kincaid Network Solutions. Connect with him on .

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