Cloud Patching Best Practices

Over the past several years, enterprises and smaller businesses alike have been migrating to cloud service providers such as AWS, Google Compute, and Microsoft Azure to take advantage of the lower costs, ease of use, and scalability offered by cloud services. Forbes estimates that spend on cloud services will grow to over $162 billion a year by 2020. Many businesses now operate with either a cloud-only or hybrid model that utilizes both cloud and on-premise servers.

As this move to cloud services has occurred, there has also been a growing discussion about how to effectively patch cloud services. Cloud providers such as AWS share the responsibility for security with their end users: The AWS data centers and architecture are built to be secure, but the security of applications running on AWS remain the responsibility of individual companies. While cloud servers require the same level of maintenance and patching as on-premise solutions, users may be unaware of cloud patching best practices, and cloud services themselves may not issue patches on a regular schedule.

It’s not just server infrastructure that has shifted to the cloud either. As we’ve written about previously, employees increasingly work from remote locations. They access the network using public and private WiFi networks from home, coffee shops, hotels, planes, etc…. Expecting them to use a company VPN is unrealistic. Keeping employees patched is important to minimize their attack surface when they log on outside of the office.  

Cloud-Native Patching

To effectively patch your cloud-native infrastructure and remote employees, and maintain compliance and security for your organization, adhere to the following best practices for cloud patching:

  • Regularly Scan for Vulnerabilities and Patches: You must regularly search for patches for the cloud services your organization is using. These can include cloud servers and other applications such as cloud-native email providers and file storage systems. While companies such as Microsoft release patches with a set cadence, patches from cloud providers are often not released on a regular schedule, and may even require immediate rebooting when released. Patches should be checked for and applied continuously to minimize chances of vulnerability exploits.                                                 
  • Use a Single Solution for Patching Across All Providers: Often companies use several cloud providers and may retain on-premise servers. These servers can run different operating systems and applications that need to be patched in order to maintain compliance and security. Manually handling patching across providers is an extremely time-consuming task, and many automated patch management solutions do not effectively patch hybrid environments. To stay updated on patching, use a single solution like Automox, which can work with any combination of cloud providers. Automox uses a lightweight cloud-native agent that is easily installed on every endpoint and automatically checks for and applies patches as they are released.                                                                                                    
  • Keep an Up-to-Date Inventory of Devices and Servers: As we’ve discussed here, more and more endpoints are either located in the cloud or using it to access data. IT departments require visibility across their infrastructure in order to accurately assess their vulnerability landscape. Using a cloud native solution to manage your patching needs, results in single source of truth. The ability to see all of your servers and workstations in one dashboard reduces time spent assessing your patch status, improves your security position, and enable real time reporting to executives and stakeholders.

Visit Automox to see how we work with hybrid and cloud-native infrastructures across Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. Automox also deploys and patches 3rd party applications such as Java and Adobe. There is no endpoint limit, you’ll have full platform access, and you don’t need your credit card.

About Automox

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, Mac, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

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