New Business Technology: Why it Doesn’t Eliminate the Issue of Security
The word “upgrade,” unless you work in accounting or are possibly facing an all-night IT shift, probably gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. Upgrades are symbols for new possibilities, better performance, and new features. When most people think of upgrades, they tend to overlook any potential downside under the false axiom of “newer is better.”
Upgrades, especially those that are adopted early, can have disastrous results, however. Sometimes, a new version may not be properly tested for bugs and can lead to poor performance, or a new feature causes compatibility issues with older files.
On an even more serious note, sometimes an upgrade can have a hole in its security, leading to serious problems like malware, viruses, or a method by which a hacker can gain access to your systems and do some extreme damage.
Beware New Hardware and Software Alike
When we think of the dangers of new technology, it is easy to think first of buggy software being the culprit behind malicious access. However, one of the greatest challenges to security in the last decade has been the surge of smartphones in the workplace and the various ways that they can wreak havoc on your business’s defenses.
Now that our phones are essentially small computers, they can do a lot of the same things: surf the internet, check email, and get loaded up with worms and trojans. Even though the owners of these phones may be trusted employees with granted access to your company network, they bring in all of the files and security risks from the personal use of their phone.
Among groups of hackers, programmers, and software enthusiasts alike, there is often a sense of competition to be the first to crack a new device. So while you might think that a new model phone or the latest operating system is likely to have the fewest exploits, it also carries with it a fevered group of individuals working around the clock to find them.
Avoid Early Adoption to Keep Your Network Safe
We all want to have the latest and greatest in terms of the software we use every day for business, but as in all things, patience is a virtue with its own rewards. While it stands to reason that an old version of software has bugs and security holes that can be dangerous for a company, it equally holds true that such weaknesses are being monitored by antivirus programs or firewalls.
A newer program on the other hand may have the same or other flaws that lead to network security issues, but the defensive programs are not yet up to speed at protecting those liabilities.
The exception to this rule is when software is updated with the express purpose of fixing a major security issue. When this occurs, the software developer will usually contact all of its users via email or press release and let them know that the update is recommended to be deployed as early as possible to prevent any kind of serious breach of security.
The Future of Business Security
Looking at things from a long-term perspective of averages, the good news is that business security should not get any worse from a technological point of view, but the bad news is it also won’t get much better either.
Hackers, scammers, phishers, and fraudsters are always looking for the next way to extort money from others, and network security professionals are always looking to close off as many points of entry as they can. The end result is an arms race that shows no sign of slowing down.
As business professionals we are simply caught in the middle, finding it necessary to bolster our defenses as much as possible and only take risks with new technology where it is absolutely imperative.
Mark is a motivated writer and online entrepreneur who makes it a point to always update his gadgets so that they are well-protected at all times. He also covers the world of business communications, education and technology on his blog at 800 Number Now.