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April 16, 2019

How Patch Management Can Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks

Depending on how complex your company’s technology network is, it can create a real challenge when it comes to keeping up with security patches that vendors issue on a regular basis. While it can be a pain, managing patches is vital to the security of your organization. Poor patch management ultimately caused the 2017 Equifax Data Breach that exposed sensitive financial and other personal information of more than 140 million Americans.

The Importance of Patches

Many of us don’t think about how many security vulnerabilities are found each day. In the last few months, Microsoft has released over 30 updates to the Windows 10 Operating Systems, seven of which are critical security patches. That doesn’t even include the nearly 60 critical updates released for Office products. Most people don’t notice all these updates, especially if they have automatic updates turned on or they outsource these IT functions.

According to Microsoft Security Response Center, some of the most dangerous cybersecurity threats occurring today are targeted attacks, meaning that most hackers aren’t going after the small prey, like your home computer. They are going for larger businesses with things like Personally Identifiable Information (PII) that can be exposed by a vulnerability. Keeping your business environment patched can ultimately prevent the one-off attacks that can easily gain access to a system and leave a business crippled or even worse, liable for leaked data.

Building a Patch Management Plan

If you choose to handle patch management internally, below are a few tips to work into your plan.

  • Automate communication with vendors. Subscribe to patch alert email lists for all of your software and hardware vendors. When a critical security issue arises you can act promptly to address the issue.
  • Evaluate and document patch impacts. In the instance that you need to deny a certain patch due to a negative effect it could have on your network, evaluate the risk and document the reason for denying the patches.
  • Prioritize network security patches. If you have a large network, rank the patches based on risk and document your reasoning for holding off on specific patches. This could come in handy in the event of a breach.
  • Have a plan to roll back patches. If a patch causes unforeseen issues, have a plan to remove a bad patch. This will drastically reduce downtime if a bad patch gets through.

Patch Management as Part of Your Security Strategy

Outsourcing patch management to a managed service provider is a good idea for small to medium-sized businesses lacking the IT capacity to deal with consistently patching their systems. If you choose to outsource your patch management, Anders Technology can help work it into an overall security strategy to protect all aspects of your business. Our tools allow us to verify your systems are up to date with the latest patches and avoid unneeded patches that can break systems. We also provide third-party application patching to make sure applications like Adobe, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox are always up to date. Learn more about Anders Technology, or contact an Anders advisor to find out how we can benefit your business.

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