Updates have become a part of life when you work with technology. You look down at your phone, and inevitably there are apps asking to be updated. When you’re working away on a project, suddenly a window will pop up telling you your operating system (OS) has an update to apply.
Most users don’t exactly welcome these interruptions, and more often than not they’ll take a “deal with it later” approach and leave the update unapplied.
In a Google Research survey, it was found that 66% of users don’t automatically or immediately apply system updates. Why not?
The most common reasons for leaving OS updates unapplied are:
- Don’t want to interrupt what they are doing
- Afraid that the update will mess something up
- It requires a restart and they don’t want to do one right then
- Unsure how long the update will take and don’t want to risk the time
- Have had bad experiences with OS updates in the past
- Don’t feel it’s really needed
Users don’t immediately see any difference in their computer if they don’t apply the update, which can lead them to think that it’s no big deal. But it’s actually a very big deal when it comes to security and other operating system features.
Not routinely applying OS updates in a timely manner has several negative consequences, which is why it’s a standard service of a managed IT services plan.
What Happens if I Don’t Apply OS Updates Regularly?
It’s true that some OS updates take more time and are a little trickier to get through than others, but they’re also a vital part of device, data, and network security.
In addition to bug fixes and new features, OS updates include vital security patches for newly found system vulnerabilities. These are vulnerabilities that hackers know about and are busy exploiting with malware and other malicious threats.
If a patch for that vulnerability has been issued through an update, but never applied, it leaves your device wide open to hackers.
Here are the major consequences that can result from not doing timely updates of your computer’s operating system.
Data Breach/Malware Infection
The biggest consequence of not updating your operating system is suffering a major data breach and/or malware infection due to a hacker exploiting an OS vulnerability.
One of the largest data breaches on record is the Equifax data breach in 2017 that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. Hackers got in due to a known system vulnerability for which a security patch had been issued two months before the breach, but no one at Equifax applied the patch. It cost the company $700 million in a settlement reached with the FTC.
The WannaCry ransomware campaign that infected multiple organizations both large and small exploited a Windows OS vulnerability, and although Microsoft issued a patch for it, millions still fell victim because they didn’t apply the update.
60% of data breaches in 2019 we the result of unpatched vulnerabilities.
Leaving your OS updates unapplied is like making your computer a ticking timebomb that’s just waiting for an attacker to come along and exploit a vulnerability that’s been left unpatched.
Not Getting Bug Fixes
OS updates often contain bug fixes that you’ll miss out on if you don’t apply them. Unlike security vulnerabilities, bugs aren’t necessarily an entry route for hackers, but they do cause problems with system usability.
For example, you might have a search bar that strangely disappears and reappears, causing you to have to use a time-consuming work around.
As users report bugs, OS developers will include fixes for those bugs in the updates that are regularly released.
Missing Out on New Features
While you may be fine with how your OS works right now, you could be missing out on some pretty helpful features that could improve productivity if you’re ignoring those operating system updates.
For example, one Windows 10 update added the ability to connect your Android phone to your Windows computer and text from your computer. A very helpful feature for those that struggle typing on a tiny phone keypad.
Other recent updates have included both a “light mode” and “dark mode” and a master Windows Search Bar that can search files, webpages, images, emails, and more at the same time.
Loss of Software Compatibility
If you’re one of those people that never do updates, you could find yourself unable to add an application that you want because your older OS version isn’t supported.
OS updates often incorporate new capabilities that software developers are taking advantage of. If you have an older OS version and never applied an update that was required for a specific function, then you can end up having compatibility issues with software using that function.
Solve the Update Hassle by Having Them Done for You!
“If updates could just go smoothly and not interrupt me, I’d do them when they came out.” This is a common sentiment we hear and one that we can solve easily. Two River Computer can handle all your OS updates for you, ensuring there are no issues, you can work uninterrupted, and that your system is secure.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.