While it’s easy to skip software updates because they take up time and don’t seem important, 9 out of 10 times a security breach occurs when software hasn’t been updated. Software updates often include critical patches to security holes, and if left unrepaired open the door for hackers to access company owned or private information.

First and foremost, you should ensure Microsoft Windows is always kept up to date with the latest bug fixes and security patches. Windows updates have grown more insistent over the years in keeping itself up to date and users now often don’t have a choice in updating. If you want to check for updates immediately, you can simply search for “check for updates” near the start button in the lower left corner and Windows will let you know if it finds anything.

Keeping third-party apps up to date is also important in preventing security threats. Software vendors will periodically issue updates for their software to release fixes for security issues that were discovered after the last update, and it’s important to accept the updates as they appear. There are also free applications available that can automatically scan your system for updates, however they may not cover all software applications.

A secure firewall is also a key defence against security breaches. Broadly speaking, a firewall is a software program that prevents unauthorised access to or from a private network. It’s important to make sure you are monitoring for firmware updates from the vendor and applying them on a regular schedule.

Ensuring Windows, third-party and firewall software is up to date is one of those simple to-dos that yields large benefits for little effort, and can be the difference between proactive and reactive IT support.

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