Everyone in a business has set responsibilities that they need to fulfill, one major one being proper patch management. A failure to uphold this responsibility could have serious consequences, including the very real potential of a security breach. It could be argued, in fact, that if you aren’t patching your systems, you’re inviting cyber criminals in.
A recent survey found that, despite the increased awareness and investment into cyber security concerns, sixty percent of interviewed organizations had been breached in the past two years – often via vulnerabilities that had already been patched. Approximately one-third of the organizations surveyed didn’t even know what hardware or software they were running.
It is pretty obvious that this isn’t an ideal situation.
Patch Mismanagement Isn’t a New Problem
You may recall the WannaCry and NotPetya attacks that created a significant stir back in 2017. Technically speaking, these attacks shouldn’t have been nearly as newsworthy as they were, as the vulnerability they relied on (the EternalBlue exploit) had been patched by Microsoft two months before WannaCry struck.
Unfortunately, the responsibility for this falls squarely on the organizations that were ultimately affected by these attacks and the fact that patches simply aren’t being applied as they should be to these business’ endpoints. All it takes to create a sufficient vulnerability is a single device that hasn’t been properly updated.
How Can This Be Improved?
There are a few practices that you can endorse in your business to ensure that your patches remain well-managed.
Have a Patch Management Policy
Let me ask you something: would you rather an emerging cyber threat catch you on your laurels and make you stressfully scurry around to apply a patch that you just found out about, or, would you rather have a strategy laid out ahead of time so your team can efficiently test and apply the needed patches when they are published?
A patch management policy allows you to accomplish the obviously preferable second scenario, outlining processes and responsibilities so that everyone knows what they need to do, and when they need to do it. As a result, your patch management becomes much, much simpler.
Test Your Patches
While properly patching your solutions is serious business, you need to go about it in a collected way. Shooting from the hip (or in other words, just deploying the patch and forgetting it) could potentially create some problems with your other components or solutions. Instead, test new patches as much as you are able, and if you don’t have the resources to do that, roll out the patch gradually to help catch and minimize the damage done by any issues.
Automation can help with the efficacy of many business IT processes, and your patch management is no exception. Some patch management tools offer automation capabilities built in that allow you to cover more of your bases with less worry on your team’s part.
Remember, Time is of the Essence
Let’s look behind the curtain for a moment: the developers of your IT solutions and hackers are always in a race, developers to secure the solutions they have created against threats, and hackers to find new methods of getting attacks in. As a business who uses these solutions, and should be trying to avoid threats, promptly patching should be a priority.
Do You Need Help Managing Your Business’ IT Solutions?
When it all boils down to it, proper patch management is just one facet of a sufficient IT security strategy. WheelHouse IT can help you identify and deploy any other security needs your company may have, keeping your data and overall success rate protected against threats. Have concerns about your security? Reach out to us by calling (877) 771-2384.