Patch Tuesday Could Be a Reckoning for VPNs and Remote Workers

We are experiencing the most disruptive sudden technological event we have ever faced, and the big plot twist is that it’s due to a biological driver. In parallel with the massive changes to society, there is a massive technological reckoning occurring within the “corporate walls” of many enterprises. Organizations have been forced to leap-frog the gradual evolutionary process of their digital transformation and fast-forward to a remote-first reality without ever getting that “cloud-first” part locked in.

Most organizations had to quickly adapt to this change in workforce dynamics by moving all access to the corporate infrastructure through VPN - and, for many organizations, that includes endpoint patching and hardening updates. What these organizations are about to contend with this coming Patch Tuesday is beyond anything they may have experienced before – and, to say the least, will put their VPNs to a crushing test of capabilities.

VPNs could cause headaches during Patch Tuesday

Patch Tuesday: April 14, 2020

April’s Patch Tuesday next week will be an unprecedented event, and it has nothing to do with the severity or volume of impending vulnerabilities to be announced. The reality is that this will be the first Patch Tuesday cycle where VPNs will be relied upon and pushed at scale by a workforce that is suddenly and entirely remote. 

VPNs are very useful in terms of providing secure pipes back to a corporate office, but they were never designed to extend continuous visibility and remote management to a massive amount of remote clients and even more so, they were never designed to handle the bandwidth needed to distribute software (aka patches) at scale. 

If you don’t have confidence in your VPN, it might be time to stagger your deployment of patches. This Patch Tuesday will be the largest scale test of VPNs worldwide in history.

Patch Tuesday by the Numbers

The average Windows 10 collective patch package over the past 6 months was 417MB in size, with January’s topping 733MB. How will your network traffic be impacted when the patches start deploying? Across 1500 endpoints, this is over a terabyte of data that will need to traverse the VPN. 

Massive packages will need to pushed over VPNs for Patch Tuesday

VPNs will quickly face multiple gigabits per second of bandwidth for even small to mid-sized companies, and easily into terabits per second for large enterprises aiming to patch critical vulnerabilities within the first 72 hours. 

These numbers are in line with a large to nearly record-setting DDoS attack. For everyone. On the same day. If your team struggled with hitting performance SLAs before, Patch Tuesday will make it a lot more difficult. Many organizations will likely face operational risk from delayed patching or VPN failures leading to increased security exposure and loss of business continuity.

A Cloud Revolution is Upon Us

Over the past decade, organizations have been slowly evolving their approach to cloud infrastructure. From initial excitement, through the trough of disillusionment and finally making our way towards widespread adoption, the path has not been a fast one. 

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), we are now facing a revolution in the way the world views cloud infrastructure. Few could have expected a biological driver over a more traditional CISO/CEO driver for the shift, but it is here and it is happening now.

Companies were just starting to get comfortable with being cloud-first and now they are being forced to get comfortable with remote-first. This new paradigm will require us to rethink the underlying infrastructure to support and secure a remote workforce.

Why We Need to Move Beyond the VPN

We are using VPNs designed to extend the IT perimeter in a situation where there is literally no perimeter anymore. Every endpoint now is a perimeter of one and the endpoint itself is now tasked with providing the security it needs for itself. Cloud-native technologies allow for the endpoint to be continuously protected beyond the perimeter.

Doubling down on VPN and on-premise endpoint management solutions is a knee-jerk reaction that does not take into consideration the long term cost efficiencies of cloud-native tools. Whether it’s a patch management, CRM, HR solution or any other on-premise tool, VPNs should not be the hoop your organization needs to jump through to stay connected and use those tools. The best way for organizations to operate at scale with flexibility is with cloud-native services and solutions. 

Learn more about our cloud-native patching and endpoint hardening platform at automox.com.

About Automox Automated Patch Management

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, macOS, 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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