The risks of outdated software - why SMBs need to take action

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Security has always been one of the most talked about subjects for the IT industry, and the need for the latest software is been widely acknowledged and adhered to by large corporates. Conversely, SMBs have been battling with limited budgets and little time to spare, which has unsurprisingly paved the way for an increased dependency on legacy software. Kaspersky has accurately noted that as ‘larger enterprises have become better defended, cybercriminals are moving down the business food chain’. 

As modern day working methods such as BYOD become more prevalent, it has never been more important for SMBs to tighten their security and ensure the protection of their data. So, why do only 28% of businesses have an internet security policy in place? And what exactly are SMBs jeopardising by settling for outdated software?

While vendors continually update their products, SMBs have been reluctant to refresh their software, as it was previously a time-consuming and costly process. With the same firewall being used for an extended period of time, legacy devices have remained without the latest security software. Older devices often feature outdated processors and this, coupled with design restrictions, has forced small businesses to compromise on key updates such as the latest Unified Threat Management (UTM) software.

By using a firewall that cannot effectively defend against a cyber attack, SMBs are risking their entire network. As business services continue to move online, a secure network needs to become a priority for SMBs so they can guarantee employee productivity, maintain a competitive edge and keep their clients happy. 

With that in mind, it is necessary to invest in high-performance security solutions that include all UTM functionalities such as antivirus, content-filtering, intrusion detection and anti-spam. As hackers become smarter and their methods more sophisticated, SMBs need to have the latest software to prevent against network attacks. While refreshing IT software every few years can become an unwanted expense, some vendors provide fully integrated packages that come with free firmware upgrades, significantly reducing the total cost of ownership. Considering the steep financial and commercial implications of a cyber attack, a one-off investment in a complete security solution quickly justifies itself.  

Employees are already becoming accustomed to flexible working practices and, with this demand set to become the standard expectation over the course of the next few years, SMBs need to ensure their network is secure and can accommodate for the modern day workforce. The latest security upgrades allow for this with new features such as application patrol, where SMB owners can maintain a granular level of control over the security of both their network and any sensitive company data. 

As cyber attacks become more ambitious and complex, network security is no longer simply an IT issue; with reputational and financial consequences at stake, it needs to be addressed as a core business priority. SMBs with outdated software are putting their customers and employees at risk and that’s why they need to act now.