Update your IT faster

Update your IT faster

1 February 2018

Cyber security

At the end of October, around 200 customers, professors, students, IT experts and other guests gathered in Ghent for our event, ‘Co-Thinking about the Future’, to consider the technology of the future. You will find a number of ideas and topics discussed during the event in this series of blogs.

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Update your IT faster

What can you do to make it more difficult for hackers to breach your systems and steal your and your customers’ data? Adequate protection in the form of more recent hardware, which is more secure, and in particular by using up-to-date software versions, including in the cloud.

Newer is more secure

The older your systems, operating systems and applications, the greater your risk of a leak: it’s mainly older systems that are affected. So why is this being ignored by so many organisations? With cars, almost everyone understands that you’re much less likely to come away from an accident with an injury in modern cars than you are from the same model built ten years ago. The same applies for IT systems.

Make it difficult for hackers

If a hacker hasn’t specifically targeted your company, but is aiming to trap as large a group of potential victims as possible, then the latest software version will definitely help. Hackers target weaknesses, and older versions have more of them.

Easier integration

Furthermore, you don’t just modernise for security reasons; new versions of applications are mostly integrated in an eco-system together with other software, and this integration is an added bonus which is sometimes completely free of charge. If you want to integrate your own applications yourself, then it’s simpler and cheaper than it used to be. Integration benefits productivity.

System and data protection isn’t just a case of having up-to-date antivirus software as far as the endpoint and advanced firewalls. If you’re using new software which has patches that arrive soon after an incident, then the chance that a hacker will a find a weakness they can use to break into your system or application is much smaller. If you’re using an application that no longer receives any updates, then it’s time to be concerned.

Thanks to huge R&D investments in IT, better isn’t necessarily always more expensive. Anyone who wants to be innovative with their business will need to be innovative with their IT. There’s no other way. This big migration to the cloud can therefore be factored into the next annual budget.

Why and how to change

People are creatures of habit. We like to carry on doing the things we’ve always done. One result of this is that you only start using new hardware and software when you’re encountering too many drawbacks, with a loss of productivity in the meantime. And then you wonder why you waited so long in the first place.

Really strong IT security is still crucial to ensure you remain adequately protected. But the biggest risk factor is people. If they’re not careful, and allow themselves to become trapped by social engineering, it can cost you. So you can’t lose sight of change management and user adoption. IT service providers like Realdolmen and others take great care when transferring sensitive customer information by making sure their systems, applications and data are secure, but also by informing employees about what else they need to do, why, and how this benefits them and their colleagues, customers and company. When we’re implementing a change, we adapt our behaviour accordingly. If we don’t see the point of it, or think the change could be disadvantageous for us, we’re not going to carry on doing it.

Avoid losses and fines

Be aware that your important information is more digital than it used to be, and often only stored digitally now. So if you lose this data, if a hacker demands a ransom to get it back, or if your people become exposed as a result of your stolen information being published, your company will suffer. If you can reduce the risk of this happening with new hardware and software, and this is possible by paying for it when you use it rather than actually buying it yourself, you’d surely do that, wouldn’t you? The compulsory General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May 2018, also prescribes that you need to do everything possible to protect the personal information you store and process. Switching to the latest versions of software is one of the easier steps you can take to comply with this.

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