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How Updated Technology Protects Your Company

August 18, 2020

Computing technology is now so good that you no longer need the latest, greatest laptop, smartphone or tablet to underwrite policies or serve customers effectively. So, it might seem like updating technology no longer matters as much as it once did. But regularly updating your operating system and browsers is essential to keeping your company’s systems secure and usable.

Outdated operating systems and browsers create security risk

Even though an old operating system (OS), such as Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.8, or an old version of a browser, such as Chrome 65, might still work well enough for your purposes, it is exposing you to security risk.

The longer an OS or browser has been in use, the longer hackers have to seek, find and exploit any security flaws. When a security flaw becomes known, software makers release patches to remedy the flaw, and they incorporate these patches into new versions of their software. That process gives you one important reason to always use the latest version of a software product.

Software makers don’t support everything they produce forever, though. As they release new versions of an OS, such as Windows 10, or browser, such as Chrome 84, they stop supporting old versions, meaning they stop releasing patches for security flaws. Hackers know some people continue to use old software, so they don’t stop looking for holes, so using old, unsupported software makes you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Using up-to-date software is a key cybersecurity practice, but it’s not the only one. Learn more about developing and implementing a cybersecurity strategy from Gartner, a consulting firm that we partner with to ensure we’re able to offer you continuous access to the risk-evaluation data you need.

A man using a laptop with floating images of technology and dataUsing updated software helps keep your company's technology secure

 

Related:
Maintaining Your Access to WSRB Data through Cybersecurity

Outdated software loses functionality

In addition to being less secure, outdated software doesn’t have the latest features, and in some cases, it is no longer compatible with new features offered by other software, meaning it can hinder your productivity. Let’s explore how this happens.

Web browsers are updated so frequently that not updating your browser for even a month or two means your version is outdated. Now imagine you’re using a version of a browser you haven’t updated in several months, and in that time, a website you frequently use, such as WSRB, has built a new tool or added a new feature. The website developers created that tool or feature to work on the latest version of the best, most secure browsers that are most popular among the site’s users. If you try to use the tool or feature with your outdated browser, you may experience problems.

For example, when you try to map a location, you may see a black box instead of a map, not because the mapping function is broken but because it was built to work on a newer version of the browser than the one you’re using, and the older version simply isn’t compatible with the new feature. Keeping your browser updated helps ensure you have access to the latest features of the websites you rely on.

Essentially the same process happens with an OS. The OS itself will keep doing what it was programmed to do, but software that’s built for a newer OS may not work with the old OS.

And, the loss of functionality also applies to security features. An old OS or browser may not be compatible with the latest security features built into new websites or software, again leaving your systems vulnerable to attacks.

In our next blog post, we’ll explain the browsers and OS we recommend for using the WSRB Solutions website so you can get the most value from your subscription.


Anthony Higgins is WSRB’s Security Analyst. In that role, he oversees cybersecurity practices, employee training and our partnership with Gartner, a trusted information technology security consultancy.

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