What is Patch Management? Why is it Important in Cyber Security

What is Patch Management? Why is it Important in Cyber Security. So patch management is nothing more than (a patch), in other words, a fix or update to a certain program. Mainly designed to fix given problems, bugs, or to extend the functionality of a program, or to improve the performance of an earlier version of a certain program.

In this article you learn what Patch Management is and how it works. In addition, you read why it is important in cyber security (including main benefits and features). 

What is Patch Management?

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Mainly, a process that helps acquire, test, and install multiple patches (code changes) to existing applications and software on a computer so that the system is up to date with existing patches and determines the appropriate patch. This makes patch management simple and straightforward.

Basically, most commonly done by software companies as part of an internal effort to troubleshoot different versions of programs, analyse existing programs, and detect potential security flaws or other updates.

Additionally, it helps to solve problems that exist and are only discovered after the initial release of the software. Patches are mostly related to security, but there are also patches that address specific software features.

How does it work?

Firstly, do you have a public cloud, private cloud or other type of storage? If so, you need a patch management policy. Moreover, it allows efficient distribution of patches throughout the patching process. Also this is done by listing all essential requirements.

Required rules include recommendations for hardening all vulnerable endpoints. If these endpoints are left compromised, the risk of being breached by cyber attackers is much higher.

Each policy should address a number of basic requirements, such as:

  • Complete reports about patches.
  • Decide the responsible team and who they can contact.
  • Set a timeframe to reinforce these vulnerabilities.
  • Maintain all patches.
  • Find the vulnerable areas.

Why is Patch Management important?

The number of ransomware attacks is growing exponentially every day. For organizations with many servers and computers, keeping them up to date is time consuming and difficult. Manually managing these patches is tedious and poses a great business risk.

Some of the main reasons patch management is important are:

Anti Breach – Generally patch management is one of the most important IT tasks in any organization, as patching prevents cyber attacks by addressing vulnerabilities in software and applications. Leaving software and operating systems unpatched can expose organizations to serious security breaches.

To ensure compliance – Against growing cybercrime, regulators have taken bold steps to ensure that businesses meet compliance requirements. An integral part of a good patch management strategy is ensuring that all endpoints in your organization adhere to compliance standards.

Besides security and bug fixes, feature updates, patches introduce new features. This improves usability and empowers end users.

Downtime PreventionRansomware attacks and other cyber threats can not only lead to data exfiltration, but also cause system downtime, impacting an organization’s productivity. Systematic patch management keeps endpoints up-to-date and secure, preventing downtime due to security breaches.

Benefits of Patch Management

Performance -patches improve system stability by fixing various bugs. Employees won’t have to deal with system failures or downtime every two days, so again it leads to more productivity and achieving tasks on time.

Outdated Software Detection – If the software vendor is out of business or has other problems, this solution helps you to identify software that hasn’t received updates for a long time so you replace it in a timely manner.

Reduced attack surface – Applications and software have a variety of vulnerabilities that hackers exploit. By installing it, organizations are less exposed to cyber attacks or security breaches. Patches act as measures to prevent many types of malware that spread rapidly through networks.

Enhancements – Software updates often imply enhancements, so fixes improve functionality as well as software defects.

Patch Management for Cyber Security

Primarily, software vendors release patches to address vulnerabilities discovered after a software or application is released. Then, patch management allows you to test and deploy patches, an important aspect of cybersecurity. Quick and immediate response to patch updates reduces the potential for data exfiltration caused by unpatched software.

Additionally, ITarian patch management software for Windows provides a forward looking and scalable patch management solution and strategy to secure business endpoints with fast and up to date patch updates.

Common Patch Management Issues

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Unclear patch priorities

Information security teams often turn to IT departments with a long list of systems that need fixing. This often overwhelms your IT team. It’s almost impossible for an organization to fix everything. Hence, IT and information security professionals often have to work together to determine where to focus limited resources.

Informal patch policy

Many organizations do not have a formal patching policy or enforcement mechanism to ensure necessary updates are made. Companies should implement a clear and compelling remediation policy to ensure that IT teams prioritize these efforts and hold them accountable for appropriate activities.

Disconnect Between the Cybersecurity Team and IT

Usually released by software vendors to address known security vulnerabilities. This puts it on the priority list of information security teams. However, patch testing and deployment is often the domain of an IT function. Because many IT organizations may prioritize system operation over security, they often focus on improving system performance in the near future rather than exploring potential weaknesses.

Patch Management Best Practices

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind to ensure strong protection against intruders:

Use Risk Scoring System

Many organizations are unaware of the real and persistent threat posed by cybercriminals. In particular, they may not be aware of the importance of vulnerabilities present in certain applications or systems that could leave significant opportunities for exploitation. That’s why the Risk Assessment Framework (RAF) is a useful approach to becoming aware of vulnerabilities and associated patches, and helps IT teams prioritize the most critical systems to patch.

Additionally, information security and IT professionals should work together to define risk assessment templates that define patch policies and service level agreements to mitigate critical or significant risks.

Establish a dedicated vulnerability management team

Organizations with sufficient resources should consider dedicating information security and IT personnel to vulnerability and patch management activities only. This team is responsible for identifying vulnerabilities and rapidly deploying patches based on the risk assessment framework described above. One of the key benefits of this approach is that it allows information security leaders to create metrics to assess program performance and identify areas in need of improvement or additional investment.

Prioritize fixes with a vulnerability management solution.

Not all vulnerability management solutions are created equal. When designing your patch policy, it’s important to consider the vulnerability management solutions your organization uses to make better decisions about how to best fix vulnerabilities. Consider which solution provides the best coverage for vulnerabilities (e.g. continuous scans or network only scans) and includes the ability to prioritize patches.

Differences between solutions that provide these capabilities make a big difference in fix times, especially for critical/high priority vulnerabilities.

Thank you for reading What is Patch Management? Why is it Important in Cyber Security. We shall conclude. 

What is Patch Management? Why is it Important in Cyber Security Conclusion

All in all, the cybersecurity threats become more widespread, patch management is essential to address any vulnerabilities in enterprise firmware, middleware or software. Finally, patch management not only helps you stay secure, but also ensures your apps are up-to-date with market trends. Enterprises should strengthen their patch management capabilities and institutionalize this process as part of their IT backbone.

Thanks, for reading this article. I invite you to visit our blog for more Patch management content by navigating here

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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