The Benefits of Regular Web Server Updates
Please, For the Love of God, Keep Your Web Servers Up to Date
Jun 2019 - 4 minutes read
If you aren’t a developer, and don’t work in tech, chances are you think of a server as the person who takes your order and serves your meal in a restaurant. You probably never think about the server that powers your website, ecommerce platform, or app. Your server needs updates and regular maintenance, just like any other program or service. If you fail to maintain it, you leave it vulnerable to tons of security and technical issues. If you rely on servers to run your business, this is a risk that you just can’t take.
There are lots of people who don’t think about their servers because they simply don’t know enough to protect themselves. They figure that if it works now, there’s no reason to change anything. Today, we’ll spend some time talking about servers and why they’re important, then give you some tips on ways that you can protect yourself and your business.
Let’s Talk About the Important of Web Servers
Nothing on the internet would exist without a server. A server is a high-powered computer or machine that exists to store and move data. There are a variety of servers, including ones that control logins and security measures for a group of users, and servers that help us send emails. The most common example is a web server, which displays pages and apps, and stores images, files, and information.
If you run a website, or ecommerce store, or have a SaaS (software as a service) business, your business runs on a server.
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Once your website or program is up and running, most people believe that the hard work is all done. Realistically, development should be an ongoing process. Servers need regular maintenance to run effectively. There are tons of businesses out there that are running on overworked servers that haven’t been updated in months, or even years.
There are tons of examples in the news lately about what can happen if you don’t update your server. A report from a reputable cyberintelligence company found that 54% of all healthcare information breaches in the past year were caused by the organization’s server. There have been some memorable examples, but none more salacious than the Ashley Madison data breach of 2015.
In August 2015, users of the adult extramarital affair website Ashley Madison woke up to find that hackers had breached the website’s servers, and published 25 GB of personal information, which included home addresses and credit card information. Sure, the servers weren’t the only issues there- their code base also contained an error that allowed hackers to easily crack more than 11 million passwords. However, the lack of server security enabled hackers to access tons of personal data. It led to at least three suicides that were directly attributed to the leaks. That event was a national embarrassment to Ashley Madison, who are now dealing with the massive fallout, including a $578 million class action lawsuit.
Why You Should Care About Updating Your Servers
There are so many reasons why you should make updating your servers a priority. We’ve gathered some of our best resources to try and convince you to make this maintenance task a regular part of your monthly routine.
It Improves Functionality
Most servers perform better when they’re regularly maintained. On average, they lose 14% of their performance every single year, which can make ever the most agile websites slow and sluggish. This increases unplanned down time and makes your website slow to load. Research has shown that 25% of users abandon a website that takes more than 4 seconds to load. That figure spikes up to 50% if the website doesn’t load within 10 seconds. That’s a lot of business to lose.
Regular Updates Protect Your Data and Company Assets
As we saw from the Ashley Madison data breach (and from the gigantic list of data breaches that have happened since), if your server is insecure, it’s completely vulnerable. When your company experiences a data breach like this, it’s very hard to rebuild the public’s trust. Even if you don’t have any of your customers’ personal information on your server, it’s likely you still have all of your company’s assets stored there, which would cost a fortune to replace.
It Gives You the Best Possible Support
It isn’t just technical or security issues that result from delaying server maintenance. If you don’t update your servers, you may find that even routine technical support becomes quite difficult. If you’re running a program that’s been outdated for several years, and you have an issue, you may find that your options for a quick fix are limited. Instead, you’ll be forced to go through a costly process to fix your existing server, or you may have to purchase a new one entirely.
It Creates a Long-Term Asset
A great server that’s fully updated and has complete functionality is a huge asset to any business. It keeps your website or program running smoothly, and ensures all of your data is protected. If you don’t include server updates as part of your ongoing business strategy, you’re thinking short-term, not long-term.
At most, it will take a few hours a month for a developer to look over your server, install the necessary updates and security patches, and check for any issues. That’s a tiny cost compared to the expense of having to replace your server as well as the data it’s storing. Even if you don’t have an issue that forces a complete replacement of your server, it can still cost more money overall to maintain an old, sluggish server. Spending the money on monthly maintenance is really a no-brainer.
Instead of leaving it to chance, make sure that your assets and data are protected by updating your server on a regular basis.