Patch Management and Why it Matters

Much like paying taxes, patch management is one of those unpleasant aspects of life for IT departments, that, if ignored, can lead to much bigger problems. So why it is it so important?

In a word, security. From operating systems to the ever growing list of third party applications your employees use, every piece of software needs to be updated or patched on a continual basis. As you bring on more endpoints, from laptops to servers to docker containers, patch management quickly becomes a task that is time consuming and difficult to maintain.

Putting patching on the back burner until a problem arises is a risky approach, especially in an environment where hackers are becoming more sophisticated and organized in their attacks. In 2015, PwC found a 38% increase in attacks, the largest in the 12 years of the study. Patch management is one of the easiest ways to mitigate cyber attacks and protect your system infrastructure.

Patching has been around since the first computer programs. It derives its name from the days of paper tape and punch cards. When an issue with the code was discovered, new tape or cards were sent out and the original code was to be cut out and patched with the new code. Through magnetic tape, floppy disks, CD-ROM’s, website downloads, and today’s automated updates, the term patch has stood the test of time.

IT departments have long understood the importance of keeping systems patched and up to date. Only recently is it becoming a boardroom issue, and there remains a lack of understanding of how critical it is to maintaining system integrity. So if you’re an IT professional who needs to explain why patch management is a critical element of your system infrastructure, here are a few tips that everyone can understand.

  • Patches are released for a reason, there is a known problem with the existing code. It could be a security vulnerability which leaves your system open to malicious attacks.
  • Cyber attacks are on the rise, and exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities can result in lost intellectual property or proprietary data.
  • It is not just operating system (OS) updates to monitor, the increasing number of third party software creates vulnerabilities as well. It is just as important to maintain the most current versions of Java, Flash, Chrome, Office 365 among many others.
  • As more servers are remote, they require as may if not more patches than laptops. And, because of business operations, these patches must be applied during off peak hours.

Keeping your network patched and secure is no longer the tedious manual process many IT professionals remember. New cloud based solutions automate the process. The adoption of these solutions was recently called out by Christopher O’Hara, PwC US Co-Leader, Cybersecurity and Privacy, “We’re seeing rapid uptake of the cloud model because of its cost advantages, the compute and scalability that it provides—and the ability to rapidly and flexibly adjust computing capabilities...today’s on-premise solutions simply can’t do that.”

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 patch 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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