A timely reminder on why you should upgrade your operating system

It is a pretty well known fact that most human beings resist change. We like things the way they are and are reluctant to rock the boat. One area where this is particularly prevalent is in computing. While many of my colleagues and other tech enthusiasts would disagree and are always looking for the next tech toy or upgrade, most end users both business and consumer avoid technology change like the plague.

I can understand their hesitation, as they are used to their setup and it works for them. However the reason behind recommendations to upgrade IT systems is not some sinister plot by IT providers to make lives harder or grab some extra cash. A perfect example of this was brought to our attention last last week. Microsoft confirmed a vulnerability that when exploited, gives the “hacker” the same rights and access as the user being exploited, including administrative privileges  essentially allowing the hacker to do what they wish with your computer including access personal information, bank details and more. You can read the release for Microsoft here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/advisory/2794220

Microsoft confirmed that this security flaw only affects users running Internet Explorer 8 or older. Windows XP users, which currently still accounts for almost 35 percent of the global share of the market, remain vulnerable as they cannot upgrade to IE9 or IE10. This is quite a concern given that Windows XP has not been sold since 2007! Windows XP users will instead have to either change browsers or upgrade the entire operating system to a newer version.

I can here the Firefox and Chrome fans screaming through their monitors at me as they read this article, however the fact is, there are those that still like to use internet explorer (and those that have to) and the thought of having to use a different browser makes their skin crawl.

The simple fact is though these sorts of issues can easily be avoided by having an up to date, monitored and proactively maintained IT system. Many business owners understand this fact and see the upkeep of their IT systems just as important as having appropriate insurances, and so they should. The trick is to keep up to date and not wait until it is too late.

Chris Herbert is a self confessed nerd and an expert in the field of small to medium business IT solutions. With experience ranging from small IT integrators to large multi-national enterprise, he has a wide breadth of knowledge in the information technology industry.

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