A global ransomware affected the systems of over 150 countries and hundreds of organizations in the second quarter of 2017. This was the effect of poor patch management.
Inadequate patch management can leave loopholes in the IT infrastructure leading to cyber attacks. The top security-related challenges that companies face today are:
- The absence of proper coordination of security measures taken by the operations department and the IT department.
- Unable to keep up with the regulatory standards.
- Failure to develop a secured automated security channel.
- Unable to protect systems from malware, DDoS attacks, and hacktivism.
- Failure to upgrade the existing software and applications to improve the security of the systems.
What is patch management?
Patch management is the best practice of upgrading existing software applications to remove any weak security patches that could be exploited by hackers. Patch management is not an easy practice and most of the time, organizations opt for patch management only after the systems are attacked. A better approach is to opt for patch management when the existing infrastructure is strong enough to ward off cyber attacks.
Patch management best practices
The traditional sandbox approach is not enough to detect and fix the nature of attacks. Here are some best practices that need to be followed to keep your corporate security secure:
1- Opt for automated patch management
Most of the attacks happen due to the vulnerabilities in the existing patches. Software patch management lets you upgrade your existing patches and keeps your systems secure. With the help of automated patching, you can repair existing system vulnerabilities in real time which drastically reduces the risks of cyber attacks.
2- Patch management should be a priority
Cultivating a strong patch management practice is extremely necessary. Many organizations neglect the need to have effective patch management which results in compromised systems leading to cyber attacks.
Hence, effective patch management should always be a priority and resources that are used regularly should be allocated for the task.
3- Have support for heterogeneous OS platforms
Windows is no longer the only operating system used by companies. In fact, a majority of companies now use Mac as their preferred operating systems which is less prone to more malware attacks.
Hence, for effective patch management, it is necessary to have support for heterogeneous OS platforms like Windows, Mac, Linux, Android etc.
4- Perform application patching
There is a wrong belief that only OS is prone to attacks. In fact, more than 80% of attacks happen on applications installed on OS. Hence, proper patching of third-party applications is extremely necessary to ward off cyber attacks.
For effective application patch management, you need to perform it every week covering each of the applications. You can set your schedule depending on your company requirements but make sure to keep it regular.
Standard protection measures might not provide ample security due to the rising cases of malware attacks. Proper patch management is absolutely necessary to combat various forms of cyber attacks. Make use of the above best practices to properly implement patch management into your IT infrastructure.