What is Patch Management?15th March 2023 | Modified: 16th March 2023
“Today’s business environments consist of all manner of technologies in and around the office”
Whatever your favourite canine might tell you, “Get off the sofa, stop chasing cars, begging for food, digging up the garden, or chewing the furniture”, whether your dog is called Patch or not, you’d be right in thinking, patch management is none of the above.
Today’s business environments consist of all manner of technologies in and around the office. This means that each of those attack surfaces of your organisation needs to be protected.
Why Is Patch Management important?
Patch management is the procedure of updating all your software, your drivers and firmware, to bolster the security of your IT network. It also provides the added benefit of making sure you’re getting the optimal working performance from your systems.
Cybercriminals look for poor patching
Ignoring “patching”, as it is sometimes called, can put your business at risk. Cybercriminals will look for holes and leaks in your systems to breach them, and if they do circumvent your system, more often than not they will hold your company to ransom. If they get you at a bad time in your business cycle, it can lead to poor productivity and sales loss and all the ensuing reputational damage that follows a breach.
Best practice IT
Vendors create software to perform a function that we all love to use, however security in the software’s design is not often considered because that’s not part of its function. So, way down the line, it can become evident that the software has problems, so Vendors develop security fixes or software updates to take care of and resolve new exposures.
However, if your business is not up to date with those enhancements, cybercriminals will take advantage of those vulnerabilities within the software’s system and launch an attack on your IT infrastructure.
Patching is important for managing risk
Lots of companies have been reaping the benefits of hybrid working, it allows staff greater mobility and flexibility in the workplace, which is great for business, but it also means that IT teams have had a harder time protecting these endpoints, especially if staff are using their own devices at home.
Devices that are outside of your company’s specification, procurement, or configuration, can be a door by which cybercriminals use to enter your network. So, any kind of device, that is not company supplied, should be checked regularly.
Good patching is good business
Keeping your company safe
Business sectors such as medical or finance are strictly regulated, so compliance with protecting people’s information is foremost in how they do business. Patch management is very much a part of keeping that data safe. Similarly, if your company has access to customers’ personal details, then it is a very good idea to follow a more stringent policy in protecting your software from cybercriminals gaining any kind of system privileges.
What is a zero-day attack?
A zero-day attack is a malicious attack on a software vulnerability that has yet to be addressed or discovered, often even before the software author or antivirus vendor has had time to fix or update the problem, hence the name ‘0’ day.
Government departments, large enterprises and financial institutions are often the targets of zero-day attacks. These types of cyber-attacks are extremely difficult to detect. However, zero-day attacks can be found using vulnerability scanning, checking the code for flaws, or by deploying patch management practices; looking for any new software vulnerabilities as soon as they come on board.
Keep cybercriminals out of your IT
Patching - an easy guide for beginner
Just how you respond to cyber threats will determine if you are vulnerable or not. Having a patch management plan is important because cybercriminals will always seek to take advantage of any vulnerabilities that may be in the system that you are using.
So, things to consider when looking at putting a patch management process in place:
- Take an inventory of what systems you are using; look at each of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop a specific patch management policy for your systems.
- Monitor for new patch announcements, and create a test environment for them, so that you don’t get caught off guard by any unintended inherent issues.
- Apply vendor patches quickly.
- It’s a good idea to conduct regular post-patch audits so that you can check for any failed patches, performance, or incompatibility issues.
- There can be quite a volume of patches to install, so it might be worth it to you to consider automating your patch management updates.
Keeping up with patch management can be a time-consuming concern, but the benefit of knowing that your system’s security is safe, far out way the consequences of running your network without them.
At CNC, we transform your business technologies, so that your business, your team and your customers benefit from excellent IT systems. We can help you with a patch management solution which is part of our 30-point cyber-security checklist built to protect you first and foremost, from cybercriminals. Talk to us on 01273 384100 for further details or email email@example.com.
Keep your company cyber-safe.
By Gary JowettGary has always focused on making sure the most appropriate solution is provided to help customers, not just what's new and shiny. With over 30 years in the IT industry Gary has the experience to tell the difference between something that's game-changing or is just a passing fad!READ GARY'S POSTS
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