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Patch Management to Protect Your Outdated Hardware

Check out the following blog to find out how patch management can be used to protect your business from cyber attacks.

Security patch management is essential to protect you from cyber attacks, but many organisations don’t maintain an effective patching routine.

It might sound obvious, but one of the most common ways cybercriminals breach an organisation’s cyber security is by using known vulnerabilities.

Despite the high risk some security flaws represent, more than half of the servers affected remain unprotected for weeks and even months after a security update has been released. 

A recent report looked at why security risks often go unpatched and the ways in which patch management can be improved.

Why Patches Are Not Applied

The number of actual vulnerabilities and exposures worldwide continues to increase alarmingly, rising from 4,155 in 2011 to a record 18,352 in 2020, with 10,409 to July 2021.

Legacy hardware, applications and services might be accessible from the public internet, allowing cybercriminals to scan for known vulnerabilities and compromise unpatched resources.

However, it isn’t always as simple as installing an update to solve the problem. For highly complex, mission-critical systems, several levels of testing and approval by different teams might be needed before implementation. 
Without this process, the patch could cause more problems than it solves. Some organisations simply don’t have processes or a strategy for testing, installing and deploying security patches.

In some cases, team members with the right skills and qualifications might not be available to focus on patch management or they might be fulfilling so many roles that they do not have time to give it the priority it deserves.

Improving Patch Management

If any of these scenarios sound like your organisation, do not despair. There are several steps you can take to improve your patch management processes and protect your business.

Most importantly, it needs to be someone’s specific responsibility. Appointing an individual or a team to design a security programme, risk management plan and policies is a good place to start. 
Hopefully you’ll already have someone in the team with the right knowledge and skills. Alternatively, you can work with external professionals who can bring your team up to speed.

It is also important to realise that human behaviour is one of your vulnerabilities, so you should provide training for all employees as well as your managers and IT professionals. 
Even artificial intelligence cannot protect your systems from security risks that involve human interactions, so having the right policies and guidelines to create a security culture and security training will ensure everyone understands its importance.

Your older or outdated systems might still play an important role in your operations, but they are certainly a weak point in your business infrastructure, making them a favourite target for criminals.
Make sure the person responsible for each of these older systems knows their status and that they share a patch management plan with your security team.

If the worst should happen, and your systems are compromised, make sure you have an effective incident response plan to reduce the damage caused and speed up recovery.

Prepare Your Patch Management Plan

Firebrand’s cyber security immersive accelerated training gives you an in-depth understanding of how to protect your sensitive data and IT systems, including everything you need to become certified and ready to protect your business.