When it comes to the cybersecurity of our devices, many of us turn a blind eye because the complexity can seem overwhelming. Questions like:
- What operating system are you running?
- Do you have anti-virus AND anti-malware security?
- What’s the difference between anti-virus and anti-malware?
- When was your last update?
The list can be longer, but a few “I don’t knows” will make anyone stop wanting to try. Keeping your operating system, antivirus and antimalware up to date is your best front line defense for cybersecurity. Vast improvements have been made to make it easier and less complicated for your PC or Mac to stay well protected. Here is a simple step by step guide to check your computer status.
The operating system of most PCs is Windows. That’s the easy part. The important question is, what version of Windows is on your computer? To find out, follow these simple steps:
- Hold the Windows logo key + R. A search box appears in the bottom corner of your screen.
- Type winverin the Open box, and then select OK.
- A new box will pop up showing you the version of windows your computer is running.
I’ll give you a minute to check it out.
If your box shows anything other than Windows 10, you need a major upgrade.
Macs are believed to be inherently safer than Windows because of the operating system. However, cybercriminals are not shying away from finding loopholes to attack your Mac. You still need diligence and the most up-to-date OS for best protection.
- From the Apple menu in the corner of your screen, choose About This Mac.
- You’ll see the macOS name followed by its version number.
What is the latest version? As of the day of this publication, macOS Catalina 10.15.5 is what you should see. You can reference Apple support for the most up to date list here.
How to update your Windows computer
So you need an update. Let’s look at options.
For Windows 10 users, updates to the operating system are pushed through from Microsoft. Follow their directions (click here) to make sure you have Microsoft Updates configured correctly to keep your PC updated automatically or at least with reminders.
Windows users running anything less than Windows 10 should visit Microsoft’s site (click here) to evaluate the best next step. Your out of date operating system is at very high risk for a cyber breach.
If your device is too old, it may not have the built in features you need to run Windows 10, meaning you will need a computer upgrade. If it is compatible, you will have to purchase the new operating system. Whatever your need, check with your IT department before you purchase. You may be able to get the upgrade from them if you use your personal computer for work purposes.
How to update your Mac computer
For Mac users, updates to the operating system are pushed through from the Apple. Follow their directions (click here) to make sure you have updates configured correctly to keep your computer updated automatically or at least with reminders. If you are running an older device, at some point the company updates will not be compatible. If that is the case, you need to contact your IT point person about upgrading your computer or consider purchasing a new Mac. Your out of date computer is at very high risk for a cyber breach.
Benefits of Updating = Cost savings for you and your company
If you want to tap out because I just mentioned spending money, stay with me a little longer. The number one reason to have the most up to date operating system is the built in security. While nothing will be full proof, Windows and Apple are constantly learning of threats and vulnerabilities. They create patches and protections to stop cybercriminals from getting in. The catch is that they only do this for their latest product.
While it might cost some money upfront, you will save money too. For years, the expectation was that you needed to purchase a 3rd party software to protect your computer from being infected with viruses and malware. That is no longer the case. Both Windows 10 and macOS systems have built in antivirus and anti-malware software. When compared to 3rd party options, the difference in security level is minimal. There is a slight argument for layering your protection, but that is not a guarantee to block everything. If you want to read more about this, Windows users can click here and Mac users can click here.
More importantly, a breach can cost your company dearly. In fact, 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of falling victim to cyber crime. Cybersecurity is not about latest technology, it is about safety of your customers and company data.
The Human Firewall is Required
Mike Moran, with Third Rock, put it this way; “Vigilant employees are still the best defense. If you are running Office365, assume that it is only going to catch 40% of the bad things coming through, you still have to be smart enough to recognize the other 60% and not click on them.”
No matter how much you pay for antivirus, anti-malware and top of the line cybersecurity, you still have to be a smart user. Use best practices for passwords that are hard to crack, tips to recognize phishing attempts and smart choices when searching the internet. You can’t prevent a breach, but you can reduce your chances. Train ALL of your employees at least once a year on cybersecurity awareness.
Download our Cyber Hygiene Checklist for updating your device to share with friends, family and coworkers.