Patching is regarded as one of the most critical cyber security measures a corporation or individual may take. New software vulnerabilities are found daily, and fixes are issued in response. Patches are software updates that work to address a security gap, ensuring that the vulnerability is closed before a cybercriminal may exploit it. Updates also include bug patches and new features and generally try to enhance the product.
Even the greatest and most established software has flaws, but the developer's ability to release a quick patch to remedy this is critical. The remainder is up to the client once the firm has delivered the software upgrade.
Individually, organizations must guarantee that everyone in the organization upgrades their software as soon as it becomes available. Automatic updates may be enabled in many circumstances to ensure that this is always the case.
Setting up auto-updates throughout an organization can ensure that a patch is implemented before a vulnerability is exploited and harms the organization. This may not always be possible, but educating employees on the need for patching and software upgrades is good, emphasizing why they are required. This might be included in security policies that staff are required to observe.
Recognizing the rationale behind specific policies increases the likelihood that they will be studied and implemented. Alternatively, firms may utilize monitoring tools to rapidly and effectively check and guarantee that every person is running the latest updated software version.
Patching is a basic yet critical operation for an organization's cyber security. The problem is that often the easiest chores do not appear to be very significant to some since they are perceived as inconsequential. Awareness of the importance of patches must be emphasized, and the rapid installation of new updates must be taken seriously.
What Exactly Is Patch Management, And How Does It Function?
Patch management entails checking computers, mobile devices, or other network equipment for missing software updates known as "fixes" and correcting the problem by installing such patches as soon as they become available.
Patches are pieces of code placed (or patched) into an existing software program's code. It is usually used as a stopgap solution until a new complete release of the programme is ready.
When software firms become aware of an existing vulnerability, they build patches to guarantee that hackers do not use that weakness to access your corporate network.
An individual team or automated programme selects which tools require patches and when repairs are required in patch management. Installation may frequently be performed on a central administrative machine and then replicated across all other devices. Patches may need to be deployed individually on multiple devices in some circumstances, especially if they are only installed on a few PCs.
Patch management entails identifying which patches are required and when they should be put on a system. Patch management is acquiring, testing, and installing many code modifications to administrative computer systems to keep them up to date. The procedure also selects the relevant patches for each software package and schedules the patch installation across many computers.
Patches are required to guarantee that systems are patched, up to date, and protected against security vulnerabilities and defects found in software. Failure to fix renders a network doubly exposed — not only is the vulnerability present, but it has now been disclosed, increasing the likelihood of it being exploited by evil users, hackers, and virus authors.
Why Is Patching Necessary?
Recently, system vulnerabilities have gained traction. Consider PrintNightmare, which targeted Windows Spooler, or the 16-year-old flaw found in HP, Samsung, and Xerox print drivers. Do you recall the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack? It happened as a result of unpatched systems being hacked by hostile hackers.
Even though Microsoft provided a security patch two months before the ransomware assault to fix the vulnerability in Windows OS, many people and companies did not upgrade their computers in time and so remained vulnerable. If this does not persuade you, consider that in 2020, more than 18,000 vulnerabilities will have been uncovered.
Advantages of Patching
The attack surface has been reduced: programmes and software may have many vulnerabilities that a hacker may exploit. By patching them, a business is less vulnerable to cyberattacks or security breaches since the corporation can fix defects before threat actors discover them.
Patch management modifies features, not only software vulnerabilities, because security experts' provided patches frequently represent expanded functionality that, if installed, would improve the system. This protects operating systems, cloud apps, and third-party applications.
We achieve compliance through managing patches because the required compliance with various rules is met, and the audit findings are satisfactory.
Productivity at its best: it allows updates to programmes, which means they will always be up to date with what makes them operate better. This will also benefit your staff because they will not have to deal with system glitches or downtime every two days, allowing them to be more productive and not waste time.
An automated patch management system will always be more accurate, as a human mistake may cause failure when doing it manually. It acts as a preventative step against various forms of malware that may quickly propagate throughout a network.
Patch management will detect outdated software: if your software provider goes out of business or has another issue, this solution will assist you in identifying software that no longer receives patches, allowing you to replace it in a timely way.
Risks of Not Implementing Patch Management
We may conclude from the advantages of patch management that the hazards of not employing it are:
- Your company being vulnerable to cyberattacks because hackers may readily exploit any discovered flaw
- The cost of lost productivity and recovery outweighing the expense of deploying an automated patch management solution
- Your competitors are moving forward, putting you behind with an outdated system and attempting to tackle issues caused by late patching.
- Loss of credibility
- Failure to comply might resulting in a fine
The emergence of cyber hazards is uncontrollable. However, you may control your organization's weaknesses and manage them effectively. One of the causes of the greatest cyber-attacks to date has been poor patch management. Patch management is critical to achieving effective organizational security.
Patch management is critical to ensuring the security, integrity, and accessibility of any organization's data and systems, and the procedure should be as complete as feasible. The more you patch and update all of your key (and non-critical) systems, the less likely it is that you're hacked.
Patch management is critical to achieving effective organizational security. However, it should not be considered the solution to all security challenges but rather an important layer of protection for your company, alongside DNS filtering, Endpoint Antivirus & Firewall, and Privileged Access Management (PAM).