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.
Why Patches Are Not AppliedThe 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.
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 ManagementIf 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.
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.
Your older or outdated systems might still play an important role in your operations, but they are certainly a weak point in your business infrastructure, making them a favourite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.
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.