With the mass shift towards Anywhere Operations, cybersecurity risks have increased. Cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025, and approximately 70% of organizations will increase their cybersecurity budgets to protect their business.
According to Microsoft's 2015 Security Intelligence Report, most of its customers were breached through vulnerabilities that had patches released in years prior. Running up-to-date operating systems and applications will help to mitigate risks. Explore how patch management can boost your company’s virtual security and safeguard daily operations.
What is Patch Management?
Patch management is a process aimed at keeping networked devices, like computer workstations, up-to-date with the latest software available. A "patch" is code designed to fix a flaw. Unfortunately, many patches are released by software and equipment companies through a variety of mechanisms, often with special handling required to deploy them.
To perform patch management, a business needs several processes, including processes to detect missing patches, obtain the patches reliably, validate those patches will work as intended, and quickly deploy them to protect your environment. Patch management is ongoing and is best automated via a streamlined and centralized server. Centralized software patching aids in deploying third-party security patches to keep your business processes cyber-safe and protect your productivity.
Benefits of Software Patching for Business
Staying abreast with patch management means you enjoy:
- GREATER SECURITY: Software patching addresses vulnerabilities within your systems and apps. Doing so removes the loopholes for hackers, which helps your company minimize security risks.
- SYSTEM UPTIME: Downtime is very costly—as much as $5,600 per minute. Patch management keeps your systems and apps current and running smoothly.
- COMPLIANCE: Given the increase in cyberattacks, organizations often face regulatory requirements for compliance. Implementing these security patches is a necessary part of meeting compliance standards.
- AVOID FINES & SANCTIONS: If your company doesn’t practice patch management and doesn’t meet compliance standards, there are consequences. You could face significant monetary penalties from regulatory bodies. Successful security patches will ensure your organization’s compliance.
- SATISFIED CUSTOMERS: Software patching addresses bugs and keeps your systems running. Your customers will use your updated technology, enjoy greater satisfaction, and grow their loyalty.
- FEATURE IMPROVEMENTS: Patch management often goes beyond bug fixes to include feature and functionality updates. Security patches are also critical to guaranteeing the latest version of products.
- ONGOING PRODUCT INNOVATION: Implementing security patches helps update your technology with better features and functionality. Patch management offers a means to deploy the latest innovations at scale.
Components of Patch Management
Software patching often includes the following components:
1. Create A Current Inventory of All Production Systems
Your IT department or IT provider should take inventory every month or quarter to closely monitor your company’s assets. This asset management gives you greater insights into your operating systems, version types, and IP addresses.
2. Develop A Plan to Standardize All Systems
A standardized asset inventory makes software patching faster and more effective. Furthermore, asset standardization makes remediation easier as new security patches are deployed.
3. Make A List of Existing Security Controls
Always be aware of the location and status of each asset. Therefore, you should track all digital assets with a vulnerability management tool.
4. Compare Reported Vulnerabilities Within the Inventory List
A vulnerability management tool helps evaluate existing weaknesses. Therefore, analyzing the assets in your inventory will help you manage any security risks.
5. Classify All Risks
Carefully manage your digital assets according to your organizational priorities. This prioritization will also guide the order of your patch management process.
6. Perform Patch Tests on Samples
The next step is for your IT experts to apply patch tests to a representative sample of assets in a controlled setting. Stress-test your company’s machines to ensure that the patches work well in your production environment.
7. Apply the Security Patches in an Automated Setting
Commence software patching to minimize the security risks. Your vulnerability management tool facilitates the automation of the time-consuming aspects of patch management.
8. Track the Progress to Ensure Effective Patch Management
Constantly reevaluate your assets to ensure software patching successfully protects your operations.
Cybersecurity Experts You Can Trust
One in five vulnerabilities caused by unpatched systems have been classified as "High Risk" or "Critical." Net Friends will help you implement patch management for a safer and more effective operations. We also offer outsourced managed IT services, managed IT infrastructure services, and IT staffing. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you protect your business and stakeholders.