Update for Security, Performance and ROI

Simply having the latest operating system or software for your apps and browsers doesn’t guarantee top performance and tight security. You have to keep all of your programs updated from the day you install them.

Everything starts with the Internet. Whether you’re setting up a new computer or installing a new application, you’re almost always prompted to connect and download all the updates required to bring your programs up to date. Begin your installation by calling up your browser of choice and updating it. (Firefox usually sends out updates automatically as its default configuration.) As we discuss in the article When They Pull the Plug on XP, your browser is the first door hackers try to get into your computer, so make sure you have all the security updates and bug fixes.

When you begin to install the program or application from a website or a disk, you likely will be prompted to check for software updates. If the installation process doesn’t take you there automatically, answer “yes” when prompted. It’s especially true when installing from a disk. Even a disk that comes with a new computer is likely to be several months old.

In general, your rule of thumb should be to check for updates as second nature – and it doesn’t take much effort. You can set Windows Update to check for and install updates on a regular basis, even specifying days and times. For example, you can designate every Monday at 3 a.m. as your update time. Just go to your Control Panel, click on Windows Update and select Change Settings from the menu on the left. Just remember to have all of your files saved and backed up because updates can require you to restart your computer.

Here are some things to keep in mind when putting programs on a computer.

Many businesses have a mix of old and new technologies; it’s an economic reality. That means they’ll be installing some older (but still mostly serviceable) applications on new machines, recognizing that they won’t get full performance out of the new technology.

Therefore, it’s important to note that installing an old program, such as Office 2007, on a new computer will require you to get a series of updates in a specific order. That’s because each update, such as Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3, builds on previous updates.  So, make sure you give yourself enough time to download and install them. The time will vary, depending on your Internet connection and network speed and capacity.

If you’re migrating from an XP machine to a new Windows 7 machine (which we implore you to do if you still have XP), you’ll need to go back to Service Pack 1 and download all the critical updates that Office will require. You should also note that you may have been using a 32-bit computer and now have a 64-bit computer. In that case, make sure you install all the updates for your new technology.

It’s the same with your Internet browser – whichever one you use. With the Internet such a presence for handling commercial transactions as well as for conducting business operations, programming becomes like its own ecosystem. It constantly responds to new hardware, new software and the ideas that lead to new applications. The continuing growth of cloud-based applications and the integration of mobile device into business demands more adaptability.

Because of that, we highly recommend that you and your employees and family members update browsers on a regular basis. You’ll get more efficiency, which can translate into better business profitability at the office and more learning opportunities for students at home.

Updated browsers also will be more secure, preventing more hackers from getting into your systems and stealing information they can use to take business and personal assets.

Keep in mind, too, that at some point, hanging on to old software or an old computer will put you past the point of diminishing economic returns. The investment in new technology – and new infrastructure for your networks, too – can pay for itself faster when you take advantage of all that technology can offer.

Contact us – 973-433-6676 or [email protected] – to set up an appointment to evaluate your current technology, your needs and available options to make your systems more cost-effective. The solutions may be less expensive than you think.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.