Keeping your content management system (CMS) up to date is a crucial part of the ongoing maintenance of your website. This means making updates to the core CMS and its associated plugins/modules as they become available. Upwards of half of all website hacks are due to exploitations of known security vulnerabilities.
This statistic alone should motivate you to take website maintenance seriously, but there are additional reasons why you should keep your website secure.
Software becomes prone to cyberattacks because there are always people finding new ways to exploit it. Once a vulnerability is identified, the maintainers will typically solve the issue and distribute a patch to close the loophole. As new features get introduced, there is also an opportunity for a new vulnerability to become available, leaving your website open for malicious activity, including:
- loss of data
- sharing of sensitive information
- spam links that can affect your google ranking
- content changes that could defame your organization
- changing your admin password to lock you out
Regular security updates can mitigate the risk of one of these potentially devastating events.
Falling behind on CMS updates can cause issues when several versions are released since you last actioned them. Some updates might depend on one another, and the order in which you perform updates can also matter. Falling behind on updates can require more testing and ultimately more time to address. You also want to avoid applying patches to a large number of plugins all at once. If you encounter problems, it will get significantly harder to determine which plugins are responsible. Thus, it is not wise to allow the number of outstanding updates to accumulate.
Failing to update your CMS regularly can also have financial implications. There is more effort and risk associated when performing a large batch or multi-release upgrade. Even worse, there could be significant time required to troubleshoot or restore a compromised site if it's been targeted. And any downtime your website experiences could mean money lost from memberships or products that are unable to be purchased. Furthermore, there's an opportunity for improved website functionality resulting from a major update. Your website may function faster or allow administrators to perform their tasks more efficiently.
Can I handle this myself?
While WordPress has made strides in allowing admins to perform updates themselves with a single click, it's still advisable to have a professional handle the maintenance of your website. You may not be aware of all plugin modifications or custom plugins and how they rely on different versions of your CMS. Since an upgrade could break functionality, it's wise to test updates thoroughly on a staging site before applying the fix to production. A website professional is also more likely to know about updates as they are released and can determine which updates are critical and time-sensitive. Finally, your staff is unlikely to have enough experience to troubleshoot or roll back updates if they cause issues.
Maintenance and support
You wouldn't make a significant investment, such as a car or home, and not budget for ongoing maintenance. Your website is no different. Protect your digital investment and reach out to a website expert. Industrial offers support agreements in the form of monthly plans or time blocks. Support plans and blocks can be used for security updates, in addition to functionality enhancements, accessibility improvements, bug fixes or training. Having an agreement in place ensures we can proactively alert you of updates as they are released and plan accordingly. It also provides you with a partner who can strategize and evolve your website as your organization changes.
Keep your website secure!
Reach out to Industrial to learn more about how we can support you.