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12% of iOS Users Are Screechin’ for a Breachin’ (a Data Breachin’)

12% of iOS users are vulnerable to data breaches because they haven't updated their systems. Learn 3 ways to prevent breaches caused by old software.

Friday, May 23, 2014/Categories: cyber-liability

According to Apple's iOS statistics, 12 percent of its users are still using old versions of the mobile operating system (iOS 6 or earlier), which puts them at serious risk for data breaches. As iOS 7 was released eight months ago, this 12 percent gap highlights how slow many users are to upgrade their software.

How slow have iOS users been? IT news site Neowin reports that in December, 25 percent of iOS users were still using previous versions of the operating system. But while the rate of users with obsolete software has halved in the last six months, it only decreased by 1 percent from April to May. This means that there likely is a persistent group of mobile users with obsolete software susceptible to data breaches.

This gap creates two major risks for many developers and IT technicians:

  1. Your software might be used on non-secure platforms.
  2. Clients are often slow to upgrade their enterprise software, even when they know better.

Both of these facts mean you're exposed to more data breach liability.

Can You Prevent Mobile Data Breaches for Your Clients?

Much ink has been spilled (or digitized) in attempts to answer which methods are best for preventing client data breaches on mobile devices. Of course, there's no one way to do this. It's a bit like asking how you can prevent a car crash.

In order to drive safely, drivers have to know the rules of the road and maintain their car. Unfortunately, many clients don’t take software maintenance seriously. That's because, unlike a car, if something is wrong with their software or iOS, users don't hear a funny noise – they usually don’t even experience a slowdown in performance.

Think how much easier data security would be if users heard an annoying noise to alert them to problems! Instead, this is what IT professional need to do:

  • Educate clients. Some clients simply don't know why they should perform regular preventive maintenance on their IT solutions (e.g., installing updates) and adopt basic user-level security efforts (such as using strong passwords) – so they skip these key security steps. Teaching your clients and their employees some of these basic things can go a long way.
  • Send security reminders and alert your clients if their software needs upgrades or its maker plans to stop supporting the platform. This April when Microsoft stopped supporting XP, thousands of users were put on notice that their software would no longer be secure. Sure enough, soon after Microsoft dropped its support, an Internet Explorer vulnerability was discovered and XP users were exposed to it.
  • Warn clients about vendor and enterprise software risks. Companies face some security risks that they won't be able to avoid. On this blog, we've pointed out that using software, SaaS, and outside IT vendors exposes your clients to more risks, but nearly every business outsources some of its IT and software solutions (see our blog "Help Your Clients Understand the Risks of Third-Party Vendors"). In addition, enterprise software – especially the kind that's custom-built – can be difficult to upgrade. An old software solution might only work with old versions of an operating system, Java, or other platforms. Because of this and the cost and difficulty of company-wide upgrades, many businesses are dangerously slow to update their software. Warning your clients about these risks helps them make more informed decisions about their security.

How to Protect Your Business from ID Theft and Data Breach Lawsuits

Adopting the measures outlined above helps prevent some data breach issues. However, as the statistics show, users will never stay completely current on their data security. Even if IT consultants teach their clients data security and emphasize the risks they are exposed to, there will still be data breaches.

To protect your business, safeguard your finances, and cover your liabilities, invest in E&O Insurance. If a client is hacked, E & O coverage pays for your legal expenses, including settlement and judgment costs.

For free quotes on IT Insurance, submit our online application.

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