What is Microsoft Patch Tuesday and When Is It ?

What is Microsoft Patch Tuesday and When Is It ? We know that Patch Tuesday is nothing more than Microsoft’s monthly name for the release of security patches for the Windows operating system and other Microsoft software. It is additionally referred to as Update Tuesday. Moreover Patch Tuesday, the term for Microsoft’s Update Tuesday that happens on second Tuesday of every month.

In this article we get into what Patch Tuesday is and how it works. In addition, we learn why it is important and its benefits. 

What is Microsoft Patch Tuesday?

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Patch Tuesday is the commonly known name for Microsoft’s monthly release of security patches for the Windows operating system (OS) and other Microsoft software. Also known as Update Tuesday.

Additionally, the Microsoft Security Response Centre posts bulletins using the Common Vulnerability and Vulnerability (CVE) identification number for each vulnerability on the Security Update Guide website. Each bulletin contains information about fixes and links to Knowledge Base articles with detailed information about updates.

Furthermore, most Patch Tuesday updates fix vulnerabilities in Windows desktop and server operating systems. It also addresses issues with Microsoft Office apps, Azure hybrid cloud apps, and the Visual Studio code editor. Updates cover supported Windows systems, including Windows systems that have reached the end of their service life but are protected by the Microsoft Extended Security Update.

Microsoft releases most security patches on Patch Tuesday. The exception is fixes for more serious vulnerabilities, called unscheduled fixes.

How Does Patch Tuesday Work?

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Well, Microsoft does not own Microsoft products and other third party software (Java, Google Chrome etc.). Moreover, these updates usually come with fixes ranging from minor bug fixes to important security updates. However, most of these releases are for Windows systems.

Generally, Tuesday’s patch releases are cumulative, so installing the latest version includes any previous patches you may have missed. Microsoft also provides additional information about each fix, so users can view the Knowledge Base (KB) articles to determine what applies and which versions are affected.

These details also describe any known issues with each update so you know what to expect when installing them.

What is the Purpose of Patching?

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The fact that software is released does not mean that it is free of bugs, security issues, or other problems. As interest in Internet security grows, patch management systems are critical to a company’s overall security infrastructure. Regular patches are required to keep operating systems up-to-date and secure. Patch Tuesday sets a monthly deadline for making changes to existing software systems.

Security Recommendations

  • A best practice is for administrators to use testing stages, such as experimental groups, to test for issues before rolling out updates to systems in production.
  • Microsoft recommends that consumers install security updates as soon as they become available. Attackers regularly check the code of Microsoft updates for clues to build a malware version.
  • Patch management must be done properly to ensure that patches do not break other enterprise products or cause inconvenience to users.

When is Patch Tuesday?

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Generally, it occurs on the second Tuesday of each month at approximately 10:00 AM PST (5:00 PM UTC). During this period, Microsoft releases monthly software updates. Moreover the company chose the Tuesday schedule to give administrators a special day to prepare for the rollout of updates.

Basically, until Microsoft introduced the cumulative update servicing model in 2016, administrators could deploy individual patches. You may also decide to roll back the patch without installing the security update.

Also, for Windows, Microsoft releases a monthly rollup on Hotfix Tuesday. Consists of this month’s security and stability updates, and includes all previously released updates. Microsoft refers to this release as B. Microsoft provides a cumulative non-security preview called Release C. These releases are typically published on the 3rd week of each month. Administrators test it out on Windows systems before the official release on next Patch Tuesday.

Why is Patching important?

Benefits of Regular Patching:

  • We fix software issues, including vulnerabilities, bugs and compatibility issues.
  • Update software to make sure it works properly.
  • Introduce new features.

Patches provide protection against several security vulnerabilities, including:

Microsoft recommends that customers patch these security updates as soon as they are available. Attackers continuously analyse the code contained in Microsoft patches to gather clues for developing malware variants.

IT pros must implement robust patch management to ensure that patches do not break other enterprise products or interfere with the user experience. Best practices require administrators to test for issues before patching systems in production using a testing phase, such as a pilot group.

Patches also cause problems. Some IT pros refer to the Wednesday after Tuesday’s patch as “Crash Wednesday”. The reason is that we need to fix issues related to Tuesday’s patch.

Patch Tuesday Best Practices

Importantly, the process has existed for over 10 years. However, the second Tuesday of every month can be associated with increased stress levels for IT professionals. Time is of the essence when it comes to patch management, and trying to fix security vulnerabilities can be confusing.

This Microsoft Windows Patch Tuesday Survival Guide highlights best practices to help system administrators overcome common challenges and take a proactive approach to patching procedures.

Ultimate Survival Strategy After Update Tuesday:

  • In some cases, Microsoft releases updated versions that are amended due to issues after the initial deployment, so it’s a good idea to test fixes before deploying them to your organization.
  • Review Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) bulletins to understand which systems and applications may be affected.
  • To minimize end user downtime, schedule patches during times when users’ computers are at their lowest.
  • Prioritize patch deployment and start with the most important updates first.

If you don’t like the second Tuesday of the month, here’s what you can do.

1. Check for upcoming updates

Keep checking for updates and prepare a patch management plan. Check out vulnerability advisory channels such as the National Vulnerability Database, SANS Internet Storm Center, and SecLists.org that discuss vulnerabilities, cyber attack tools and techniques, and other updates.

Stay up to date on release notes and follow blogs related to software deployed in your organization and popular environments (Microsoft Security Update Guide, Adobe Release Notes, etc.). Run penetration testing to determine if there are any vulnerabilities that can be exploited or any patch you need in order to do the job.

2. Prioritize patch deployment

Security bulletins assign severity ratings to vulnerabilities and describe what can happen if the update in question is not released in a timely manner. Identify critical zero day vulnerabilities in your environment that require immediate action.

Evaluate the results and prioritize patch updates based on severity:

  • Usual. Certification requirements make it easier for mid-tier patches to work. In this case, it is not easy to exploit the vulnerability, but we recommend that you install these patches.
  • Important. In such a scenario, the confidentiality and integrity of user data may be at risk, so critical vulnerabilities should be fixed as soon as possible.
  • Dangerous. We strongly recommend that you fix these vulnerabilities immediately. Exploitation of this type of vulnerability could lead to malware, code execution without user interaction by browsing the web or opening an email.
  • Short. These vulnerabilities are rarely exploited and Microsoft suggests that you consider deploying an update.

3. Protect your IT environment with automation

To make the process more efficient, consider implementing a patch management policy in your organization and automating the process. Save your IT team time and effort by defining policies such as testing, deploying by severity, and planning.

4. Consider Cloud Based Patch Management Tools

Even with a perfect action plan, manual deployment with legacy solutions is not the best approach to cybersecurity. Large organizations and organizations with hybrid workforces can no longer rely on LAN dependent tools. Cloud based IT management solutions are becoming an easy and cost effective alternative for automating remote patch management and efficiently maintaining IT programs.

Thank you for reading What is Microsoft Patch Tuesday and When Is It ? We shall conclude.

What is Microsoft Patch Tuesday and When Is It ? Conclusion

To sum up, the idea of scheduled updates has become widely accepted among network administrators because it allows them to schedule system maintenance and reduces the chance of unwanted system failures after patches are deployed. However, it is still a topic of discussion in the security community due to some security concerns.

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Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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