Your business' computers, servers, and even the network equipment they are running on all run on different forms of software underneath.  Your computers may be running Windows or OS X, the server may be running Windows, and your Network Attached Storage Device (NAS) may be running its own proprietary software as well.  Keeping all of these platforms up-to-date can be a tedious task that you, as a business owner, may not always have time to spend handling it all, however, not updating your companies various computer systems could lead to some troubling issues.

As a managed IT company, we've seen it all.  We've taken the time here to try to help you understand the importance of keeping your systems current, as well as how to make it easier and less time consuming to do so.

Which Updates are Most Important

It's important to keep your computers and software up-to-date to avoid problems, like compatibility issues, security problems, and getting the latest benefits from your software.  Some updates are more essential than others.  Updates come in a variety of forms, such as:

  • Firmware Updates - Firmware is a specific class of software meant to provide low level control of specific hardware.  Keeping your hardware firmware up-to-date is important for security and overall functionality.
  • Software Updates - These are the most common forms of updates leading to better overall security of a software platform and continued compatibility with your various computer systems.  Common software updates include updates to applications like Windows, OS X, Java, Adobe, etc.
  • Security Patches - Security updates and patches come in a variety of forms: from software updates to an Operating System (OS), to vulnerability patches to various applications that run on your computer.
  • Driver Updates - Drivers include software that help devices within your computer or network communicate with each other.  They are provided by the manufacturer of devices like printers, network cards, video cards, and other hardware device program drivers and are updated regularly.  Keeping these up-to-date will provide better security for your computer and offer more usability.

Security-based updates are key to keeping your computers and networks safe within your working environment. Keeping your most used systems current will ensure a safe working environment that can prevent viruses from affecting your PCs, Macs, and servers.  Updating the firmware on your network equipment, such as your router or switch, is also important for maintaining a safe and secure network.

What are Common Practices for Updating?

Updating your Windows or Mac-based computer is normally very simple.  Windows will remind you when updates are available, and companies, like Microsoft and Apple, keep to a strict schedule for when new updates become available.  For example, Microsoft releases new updates for Windows and their other software every second Tuesday of each month.  Even though your personal computer will often remind you of important updates on its own, it is not guaranteed in the case of more intricate updates for your network equipment or server.

More integrated systems, such as your firewall or NAS device, may require you to manually check for new software and firmware updates.  This will require you to log into your device and find the maintenance section where it will typically hold a place for checking for the latest available software.  Many consumer grade network devices can automatically check for and install updates, however, business class firewalls and switches will, often times, not have this capability.  This requires you to go to the manufacturer's website to find the latest firmware version and install it manually yourself.

If you're a business owner, this can often be time consuming and result in neglect for years leaving you exposed to potential security risks.  This is why it's wise to hire technology experts, like Natural Networks, do these tasks for you.  As a managed IT company, we are able to monitor your network equipment, computers, and servers together under one management environment.  This allows us to update your network equipment firmware during off hours when it won't effect your business and maintain the latest updates for your devices without you having to worry or even think about it.

If you want to learn more about Natural Networks managed services, please feel free to contact us today!