Why you need a Patch Management Policy for your Small Business
Patch management can significantly reduce your infrastructures vulnerabilities and reduce the risk of a successful cyber attack.
In a recent survey, it was reported by CSOOnline that 60 percent of breaches involved vulnerabilities for which a patch was available but not applied.
What it tells us is that companies are not taking their cybersecurity seriously. To have had a patch released that closes a vulnerability and NOT apply it shows a lack of seriousness in cyber threat management.
This blog post will discuss what patch management is and why you should have one as part of your cyber threat management toolset.
What is Patch Management?
Patch Management is the policy or process whereby all aspects of infrastructure and applications are regularly checked against the vendor for any updates. Patches can fall into a few categories, namely security or functionality. It is the security ones that are critical as they can address the discovered vulnerabilities that would stop a hacker from being successful.
It is essential to apply a patch management process to all aspects of your infrastructure including, end-user devices, routers, firewalls, servers, operating systems, applications, databases, security software etc.
The update (patch) is usually a small piece of code that amends the running software or infrastructure and closes a vulnerability.
The process of operating a patch management schedule can vary, and many companies opt to do it there manually or automated. Both have their advantages but one thing is very clear; the patch has to be tested to be successfully applied without causing service issues.
Why should I have a Patch Management Process?
Security! That should be enough to get the buy-in even from the most detached business owner.
System vulnerabilities usually surface when other dependent services are changed or updated. However, there are cases where vulnerabilities are found without any changes in the service. These are the ones that can cause significant issues if hackers have identified them and a patch has not been released. There is usually a delay of hours or days from the time a vulnerability is discovered to when the vendor releases a patch – and it is this period that needs to be managed.
The Benefits of Manual Patch Management
Whilst not often used, manual patching is an option where you need closer oversite on the system that requires a patch. Older software and hardware that is still in service can tend to have issues if it is updated.
Some systems have dependencies either within or externally, and so if they need a restart, they can be managed as required
If you have old systems with a history of issues, then performing a manual update allows you to monitor for issues and resolve them should they arise.
The Benefits of Automated Patch Management
Having a software deployment schedule that can automate updates can save on time and resources. Updates can be applied out of hours or when the system is not being used. Patch deployment software generally has error and service checking to ensure that the system has successfully applied the patch and will monitor and alert as needed.
We hope this blog post has been informative especially when it comes to security and vulnerability management.
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