Patch work: The importance of effective patch management
Patch management isn’t just something you need to do to remain compliant — it’s an essential part of your proactive cybersecurity strategy.
Patch management is one of the smartest and most cost-effective ways of preventing a data breach or cyber attack from happening to your business. For every release of a new software version comes patches for security flaws that were discovered in the previous. While many may ignore this requirement, especially those who aren’t technologically savvy, not keeping up-to-date is a risk that’s not worth taking.
Quick fix: How patches work to keep your systems safe
Patch management is the process of updating software to keep it safe from external attacks. Patches are created by software providers after they discover a flaw, and are used to fix these newly-discovered weaknesses, which helps ensure your environment isn’t susceptible to exploitation. These patches help resolve bugs, and vulnerabilities, that would otherwise cause your network to be compromised. The best way to ensure that your network doesn’t fall victim to hackers is to monitor functionality regularly, check for any security issues and to update whenever possible.
Why savvy businesses are automating their patch management processes
Whilst updates and patches are designed to combat a variety of problems, users often aren’t proactive about installing them which creates a dangerous security hole. And this, in turn, is why many businesses choose to rely on a patch management tool along with implementable rules around patching. This keeps your software up-to-date with the latest version, so you’re well-protected against threats. The system will let you know when patches are available, and will install them automatically, with complete transparency on the process. It normally also includes a preview of the changes and the ability to compare versions before you install.
Start today with a few patch management best practices
- Get everyone on-board: Collaboration has a pivotal role to play in software security. Securing software is not a one-person job or even a one-team job — it’s everyone’s responsibility. By working closely with technical teams, businesses can lead successful security programmes and set clear expectations on who is responsible for which tasks. If everyone on the team understands the importance of good patch management, it’s more likely to be achieved across your organisation.
- Establish the goalposts: Setting clear expectations and establishing company-wide patch principles can help you achieve two things. Firstly, it helps your employees keep on track as they’ll be able to see the final goal, and how their individual actions contribute towards it. Secondly, it creates a framework for accountability. Everyone can see if their efforts are effective, and if something goes wrong down the line, this clearly defined accountability will help to identify where the problem originated and how it can be prevented in future.
- Always have a backup plan: Patches are smart, but sometimes hackers are smarter. That’s why disaster recovery plans are as vital to any IT strategy as patch management principles. They help minimise downtime and data theft in the event of a cyber attack or natural disaster. Businesses who choose to invest in the latest disaster recovery and online backup solutions can rest easy knowing that their data will be safe, even if the worst should happen.
Make patch management a security priority
As cyber attacks become more sophisticated, it can be increasingly difficult to keep your network safe. Whilst you can employ various security measures to protect your assets, effective patch management can be an invaluable tool to add to your security strategy. When combined with a strong culture of disaster recovery and online backup, you can ensure your infrastructure is safe and secure.