How Patch Management Aids Enterprises to Prevent Security Breache

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 4, 2016
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The rise of widespread malicious codes targeting unpatched systems as well as the resultant downtime and expense associated with it has compelled organizations to focus more on Patch Management. While software updates serve many important roles in an organization, they also bring in many potential challenges. Whereas, outdated software brings with it the risk of creating weak points in the security strategy of a company, as well as increase the chances of reliability-based failure and loss of data.

What is Patch Management?

Patch Management is an area of systems management that helps in maintaining knowledge of available patches, deciding which updates are appropriate for particular systems and ensuring that those updates are installed correctly. It also includes the process of testing systems after installation and documenting all associated procedures.

Importance of Patch Management and How it Works

With more and more companies relying on IT to enhance their business, keeping the server fully patched is critical in a bid to prevent security breaches. An automated patch management system involves the installation of a client that allows network administrators to control patch distribution from a web-based interface. The administrators configure the settings for patch distribution and generate log reports to check the status of patches. On the other hand, other companies prefer to outsource patch management to another company, who performs its duties from a remote location.

Causes of Problems and their Fixes

However, even after deploying patch management tools, certain problems do creep up in the infrastructural design of organizations. The problems are most likely related to causes like systems being offline during the patch cycle, ignoring a specific patch, lack of right monitoring tools, inconsistent security checks and not dedicating enough time to patch management process. Though these problems are easy to ignore, the consequences of it can be quite dire in future. In solving these problems one can follow these steps to ensure that security is kept up-to-date:

• Reviewing the patching process as well as the patch management configurations on both the server and the workstation side.
• Running the vulnerability scanner periodically.
• Making sure that all of the Windows systems are updated.
• Looking at the bigger picture with regard to security documentation and processes, while making sure that communication takes place among the right people.

Conclusion

Though the entire process of patch management has been complicated by the growth in operating system and application patches along with driver updates, it is still a critical component of software management and IT security strategies. However, focusing on only technology through patch management is not the way forward. Instead, one needs to work together with technological solutions and operationally-based components to address each organization’s needs without compromising on reliability, productivity, security and data integrity.