What’s a Patch?
Most modern infrastructure is comprised of third-party or open-source hardware and software. White hat hackers are trained to find vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals. When a white hat hacker identifies a security gap, the vendor releases an update called a patch. Patches remove vulnerabilities, but they also make vulnerabilities from previous updates public to cybercriminals. If you’re running outdated software, you’re leaving yourself open to attacks.
Patch management is keeping track of releases of new updates by vendors, be it code, firmware or software update and making sure they get patched based on the severity of the vulnerability found and does not patch open a new world of issues.
The most important aspect of patch management is keeping track of your inventory, if a device or software is end-of-life, you will not be able to get the update from the vendors as they do not support it anymore.
Managed service providers like BlackHawk Data use an automated process implementing “Patch Tuesdays” to address these issues where there are 1% chances for human error.
Patch Tuesday occurs on the second, and sometimes fourth, Tuesday of each month. It’s an unofficial term used by IT professionals to refer to when large vendors (like Microsoft, Oracle, and more) release their patches.
Depending on the size of your organization, patch management can be a full-time job. The more devices, users and software your organization leverages, the more you need to keep track of.
The best way to ensure patches and devices are secure are to follow these steps:
- Inventory all network assets
- Establish patching priorities (edge/security devices come first)
- Establish a management policy
- Test patches before applying
- Document the details of the task
- Deploy patches and monitor them
- Audit the patches once completed
- Generate patching reports
These steps cannot be overlooked—they are crucial to keeping your organization safe from cybercriminals. If your IT department does not have the resources to dedicate to patch management, you may want to consider partnering with a managed service provider like BlackHawk Data.
Enterprises with outdated technology can lose 47% more money when they suffer a data breach compared to those who update their IT systems in a timely manner. BlackHawk Data has the resources and expertise your organization needs to defend against cybercriminals. Don’t wait.