The Importance of Updates : Observing the Obvious

Just about everyone knows about “Patch Tuesday”.  Whether you’re in IT or just a casual user of technology we’re all exposed monthly to the System Tray icons popping up to tell us there are important updates that need to be applied or have been applied to your system and now you need to reboot or postpone for an hour/four hours.  But why bother?

Many of the updates that companies release these days are to plug some security hole.  That’s important.  Sure, maybe you don’t visit sketchy websites so you don’t think you’re system is ever going to be exposed to the “bad people” and that’s fair.  But in reality, if you have a network connected computer, any network, you run the risk of coming into contact with a machine that could potentially be infected or exposed or hosting processes up to no good.

In part you want to keep your systems up-to-date to protect yourself from problems but you also want to keep this current to protect yourself from others with problems.  And it’s not just operating system updates.  Just about everyone releases updates from time to time to correct issues, plug holes, or improve performance.  So why wouldn’t you update?

My own recent experience involved a small port extender device manufactured for a large vendor that was used at a client site.  The drivers for the device were the default drivers used when the devices were first installed in 2011.  After applying some operating system and application updates the device continued to work but now Outlook would crash each and every time it attempted to load.  Since the laptop worked just fine unplugged from the device, and the crash could be replicated on another matching laptop, I decided to look and see if newer drivers were available.  In fact there were and they were relatively recent, September 2014.  There were numerous revisions since 2011.  I updated the drivers and presto chango everything worked just fine again.

This is but a single example of many that should encourage everyone to maintain up-to-date systems whether for work or for home.  We do ourselves a favour and we do our part to keep the neighbourhood clean as well.

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