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Tech leaders know it can be difficult to get everyone in the company to keep their software updated. As remote work arrangements have expanded, it’s become even more of a challenge since there’s no direct oversight.
However, peak performance and security depend upon the improvements that come with software updates, so tech leaders need to find ways to ensure compliance. Below, nine members of Forbes Technology Council share practical tips for ensuring everyone on your staff is working with fully updated technology.
1. Start with user awareness training.
From experience, I can comfortably say that it all starts with user awareness training—always educate teams on the relevancy of security patching. Once that’s out of the way you can take proactive steps to secure users, including automation of the patching/updates process, sending regular reminders, revoking access until patches are installed and holding employees accountable for security issues. – Nazih Chamtie, KMicro Tech, Inc.
2. Consider unified endpoint management.
Everyone in any size company has a responsibility to ensure their devices are up to date—even when IT has automated everything. If you have a company with under 20 people, you should show everyone how to turn on automatic updates on every device. If you have over 20 employees, you should bring in a unified endpoint management platform to centralize your software updates. – Russell P Reeder, Infrascale
3. Have a proactive security strategy.
As security threats continue to rise, organizations need the right solutions in place to address them. The risks of unpatched vulnerabilities are great, so firms should create a proactive security strategy with solutions that auto-update or make system owners responsible for updates. Otherwise, they should work with a managed service provider to secure their environments. – Shiv Sundar, Esper
4. Ensure everyone signs off on their adherence to security policies.
Working remotely is no different than offshoring work to different countries. Every company needs to have standard operating security procedures, and they should be part of a quarterly training program for all employees on how to avoid breaches. Ensuring that every member of the company—whether they are working remotely or on site—signs off on their adherence to the security policy is a must. – Bhavna Juneja, Infinity, a Stamford Technology Company
5. Combine automatic updates with zero trust.
Keeping software patched has always been a challenge for businesses. If you combine auto-update settings with zero trust networking access, you have this problem solved. With ZTNA, the focus is on the user, the device and the resources they access. If the user is authenticated on a known and patched device, you can see if they should have access to the resource they are trying to reach. – Daniel Schiappa, Sophos
6. Set up monitoring and remote mediation solutions.
With the fracturing of the physical workplace, you must not only know what you have and what you use on a per-user basis but also take an honest look at your security exposure. With the proper monitoring and remote mediation solutions in place, modern organizations can get off the treadmill of “Patch Tuesday” on a per-user basis and begin to get scale, and the cloud, to work for them. – J. Tyler Rohrer, Liquidware
7. Invest in enterprise plans.
I know that this is a big problem for companies that don’t provide tools for their team members. We’ve found that by investing in enterprise plans for our favorite resources and giving licenses to our employees, the security features are always up to date. This tip also helped us improve communication across the board because everyone is familiar with the same software. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
8. Leverage software games.
I highly recommend using gamification to help ensure users upgrade their applications. Leveraging software games that show levels of users with different upgrade conditions and motivating users with points and social stigma can go a long way toward getting them to upgrade their apps. A dashboard with top users and coaches for those users with low upgrade scores can also help get upgrades done easily. – Buyan Thyagarajan, Eigen X
9. Consider the BYOD model.
While the bring-your-own-device model means relying on users to maintain their own kit, it can be supervised by any number of dedicated applications. However, this also means users will need to install company controls on their own equipment. – Saryu Nayyar, Gurucul