You’re probably used to following the on-screen prompts from Microsoft to update Windows whenever security patches become available for your PC. But is everything else in your IT system up to date? If the answer’s “No”, you could be leaving yourself and your business vulnerable to hackers, fraudsters and other assorted bad-guys. Follow our simple advice and you’ll be able to sleep soundly at night…
1. ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE:
If your antivirus software is subscription-based and it’s not up to date, you’re not properly protected. We’ve carried out a comprehensive analysis of detection rates on all available antivirus software and recommend Kaspersky as the best all-round product. It offers central management, enabling one machine or server to manage your antivirus protection, whether you have five, ten or 2,000 PCs. This way you can ensure they’re all up to date and see if any of them have a virus or becomes infected. What’s more, licenses can be renewed and rolled out on all of them – a lot more efficient than having to go round 2,000 machines installing licenses individually. There are free products available, such as AVG, which can have better detection rates than some paid-for software. However, they’re mainly aimed at home users and we wouldn’t recommend them for business use with multiple machines, where central management is vital. But whatever service you use, it’s vital that you install the latest security updates.
Millions of websites are now built on the popular WordPress platform. But if you don’t keep it properly updated, you make it easy for even a novice hacker to access and deface your site. WordPress users will get a notification when an update is available, but far too many people ignore them. You don’t need to be an expert to do this. It should be a straightforward matter of following a few prompts. But if it does get complicated, ask whoever created your site to do it for you.
Is your server up to date? This is something that should be looked after by whoever manages it for you. You rely on them to make sure everything’s up to date – and if they’re not doing their job properly, it could leave your systems exposed to a potentially disastrous security threat. Ask when they last performed an update and whether they constantly keep on top of the latest releases. If they’re not able to perform the updates, they shouldn’t be managing your server.
4. WINDOWS SERVER 2003:
Microsoft Windows Server 2003 becomes “end-of-life” on July 14 this year. After this there’ll be no support from Microsoft and they’ll no longer update it. That means if there are new vulnerabilities, they’ll be exposed. Ask whoever manages your server what version you’re running. If it’s Windows Server 2003, you need to start planning an upgrade now. It’s no good doing it the day before it expires because that won’t give you enough time. It will take at least a few months to plan and then migrate all your data.
5. XP AND OFFICE 2003:
An alarming number of businesses are still using Windows XP and Office 2003, which both went end-of-life last summer. Because so many people use it, Microsoft continued to provide limited additional support for those who had enough money to pay for it, including governments, NASA and cash machine owners. Everyone else is now easy-pickings for attackers – viruses and hackers can exploit those products and there’s nothing you can do about it. And if your business stores private information about customers or clients, you’re taking a huge risk with your reputation and livelihood. Our strong advice is that these products are vulnerable and if you do get compromised, you’re not complying with Data Protection legislation by taking reasonable steps to protect the data. You shouldn’t be using any Microsoft program with 2003 in the title, including Outlook 2003, MS Word 2003 and Excel 2003. If you are, you need to do something about it urgently.