20 Apr Small Business IT Support Basics: Why Technology Updates Can Make or Break Your Business
Hardware & software updates help you avoid data losses and improve your bottom-line
It’s important to discuss hardware and software updates with your IT support company. If your devices aren’t operating on supported versions with the most recent patches, many IT security protocols won’t be as effective.
Outdated hardware and software:
- Slow down productivity & uptime
- Weaken the value of your IT protection
- Open security gaps for malware and viruses to sneak in
Updates Should be Scheduled and Tracked
Your small business’ computer support provider should track when devices need updates. Automating the maintenance process will help ensure updates are made and not forgotten. This IT maintenance checklist item will save your company from high-cost IT fixes, data recovery, and lost revenue.
Here’s are some other ways technology updates keep your business running smoothly:
Decrease downtime and increase the bottom-line
Imagine your employees need to tell a customer to “wait” because your system is running slow. Or, imagine a video conference with a client drops off completely because your computer can’t handle the heavy processing.
Not only is slow technology performance annoying, it’s also harmful to your business. 59% of Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. And if they receive poor customer service, nearly 80% will bail on a transaction.
Computer crashes or downtime due to old or unsupported systems hurt your:
- Customer service
- Company reputation
- Revenue opportunities from potential customers
Updating your hardware and software on your machines will ensure your devices work when your employees need them. Instead of worrying about technology outages, you can focus on delivering high quality service, boosting employee and customer morale, and keeping your revenue flowing.
Compatible technology is more dependable
Your software, Operating System (OS), and hardware should all be compatible. Newer versions of technology are being launched with a higher frequency. These more frequent software updates raise compatibility issues with existing software, especially older versions of programs, desktops, and whole platforms.
Incompatible software and operating systems weaken computing power and expose your company’s underbelly to the latest malware. Technology that’s several versions old or is missing patches and updates is less dependable in general and puts your company at risk, even if you have the latest and greatest antivirus.
For these reasons, it’s important to work with your IT support company to keep your updates consistent and on schedule. When you know your systems are up to date, you won’t need to worry as much about system downtime, IT recovery costs, or exploited confidential information.
Your IT support company should look at necessary updates and how they impact other software and devices. This will help avoid implementing an update that breaks something or hinders other big picture goals.
Closing security gaps protects your assets
Software and hardware updates ensure your technology is secure. Following IT security best practices protects your business from cyber criminals.
But we still find many of our clients ask:
Why isn’t having the latest antivirus or firewall enough? Why does incompatible technology put pressure on the IT security you have in place?
The reason why is because only updating your antivirus or firewall doesn’t address the following crucial software updates that affect security:
- Bug fixes
Software bug fixes make your tools more productive and easy to use. These upgrades often eliminate weak spots in the software. Think of a bug as an open invitation into a security gap and an operational hazard.
- Software Patches
Software patches close loopholes in the software code that might allow malicious hackers or software into your system. It’s important that updates are installed for the operating system as well as each of your applications. Patching Windows alone is no longer sufficient because now criminals target third-party software and add-ons.
- Firmware Updates
All network devices, like wireless access points, printers, routers, and firewalls run software. It may not be obvious, but these network-connected appliances can be a real threat to your productivity and security if they are running software with known security holes and unresolved bugs.
Updates like these prevent against data corruption, serious computer viruses, and more. The average data recovery costs for small US businesses in 2016 ranged from $36,000 to $50,000. If you run a smaller company, saving yourself from a data breach by ensuring hardware and software is up to date could be the difference between a high growth year and bankruptcy.
Strengthen IT support by updating technology
Legacy software systems that are out of date put your company at risk. Balancing when to update your current tools and the cost to upgrade to bigger and better systems can be overwhelming. With so much to consider, many small businesses turn to managed IT support companies to help update technology. In cases where legacy software cannot be updated, managed service providers can assist with placing vulnerable code in a special, walled environment to limit the scope of damage and make the software harder to exploit.
When working with a managed services IT provider, you should make sure one of their main priorities is to inventory your technology and track upcoming updates. IT support companies will not only manage these logistics, but they will suggest better software and hardware to fit your needs. A helpful managed IT provider will usually save you money both on short-term purchases and on long-term technological health.