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What is Patch Management?

What is Patch Management

What is Patch Management?

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What is Patch Management?

Patch Management is the procedure of distributing as well as applying software updates. Usually, these patches are required to rectify errors, also known as “bugs” or “vulnerabilities” in software. 

Common areas, which will require patches comprise applications, operating systems, as well as embedded systems. If a vulnerability is discovered after the release of the software, the patch could be used for fixing it. Doing this helps make sure that assets in the environment are not vulnerable to exploitation. 

What is the Patch Management Process?

It might be a weak strategy to install newer patches and then they become accessible for all the assets in the organization’s inventories without considering their impact. As an alternative, a more tactical approach needs to be used. Patch management needs to be implemented using a detailed, structural process, which is both security-focused and cost-effective. 

The main steps of the patch management process consist of:

  • Developing an Updated Inventory of All Production Systems: With diligent asset management, it’s easy to get a well-versed view of version types, operating systems, as well as IP addresses, which exist, together with their organizational “owners” and geographic locations. With more frequency in asset inventory maintenance, you will become more informed.
  • Make a Plan to Standardize Operating Systems of the Same Version Types: Though hard to execute, standardizing the asset inventories makes patching quicker and more effective. You’ll need to standardize the assets down to manageable numbers so that you could accelerate the remediation process. It will assist you in saving both you as well as technical teams spend time in remediating.
  • Create a Listing Security Controls Placed within the Organization: Monitor your antivirus, firewalls, as well as vulnerability management tools. You’ll need to understand where they are sitting, what they’re defending, as well as which assets are related to them. 
  • Comparing Given Vulnerabilities against the Inventory: Using vulnerability management tools to evaluate which vulnerabilities are available for which assets within your ecosystem will help you know your security risks as a business. 
  • Categorize the Risks: Using vulnerability management tools, it’s easy to organize which assets you think about to become important for your organization as well as prioritize what requirements to get remediated consequently.
  • Testing: Apply patches to the representative assets sample in the lab environment. Pressure test the machines for making sure that patches would not cause problems in the production environment. A backup and restore strategy helps you in restoring the system to its original and unpatched condition in case the patch arrangement fails. Companies need to take complete system backups to make sure they can immediately restore their system in case of any failure.
  • Applying the Patches: Once you arrange what requires to get remediated initially, start patching to reduce the risks in the environment. More progressive vulnerability management tools provide the capability of automating time-consuming parts of the patching procedure. 
  • Tracking Progress: Bad documentation of patches will result in downtime. So, you need to create and maintain a process. In the documentation part, the team will note down each patch cycle’s progress and its results. Your customers’ trust, as well as your reputation, are relied on by how well the documentation is made.

Why Do You Need Patch Management?

Patch management is extremely important for the given reasons:

  • Compliance: Because of the constant increase in cyber-attacks, businesses are often necessary by regulatory bodies for maintaining a definite level of compliance. Patch management is a required piece of following compliance standards. 
  • Feature Enhancements: Patch management could go beyond software bug fixing to include functionality or feature updates. Patches could be important to make sure you have the greatest and latest, that a product needs to offer. 
  • Safety: Patch management solutions vulnerabilities on software as well as applications, which are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, serving your organization in reducing its security risks.
  • System Uptime: Patch management makes sure that your software, as well as apps, are kept updated and work smoothly, helping system uptime.

Patch Management Best Practices 

Some finest practices to remember while applying patch management consist of: 

  • Create a Disaster Recovery Procedure: If the patch management procedure does fail as well as causes problems, it’s a good idea to get a backup strategy. 
  • Set Strong Expectations and Hold Teams Answerable: Leveraging structural agreements like service-level agreements, could make teams checked, and make sure that the working of lesser risk is getting done.
  • Work Collaboratively Using Technical Teams to Make Sure a General Language: Safety teams usually refer to the software errors as a “risk,” where IT teams might use a term called “patch.” Ensuring that everybody is on a similar page and identifying the significance of patching is the key to any successful patch management procedure.

Common Patch Management Issues 

Lacking Patch Deployment Reports: Amongst the most general patch management complications is the lack of prominence to where patches are used on which devices. Without any all-inclusive patch report then you just cannot make sure of patch compliance in the organization. You have to observe the position of different security patches, which are deployed as well as observe the systems related to patch vulnerabilities.

Sudden Patch Failures: While installing any new patches, there are many things, which can be wrong. From compatibility complications with current software components to faults within a patch itself, all these failures should leave the system open for vulnerabilities.

Lacking Mobile Control: Managing mobile devices is an enormous challenge for IT managers. The worries around mobile devices don’t stop at safety, however. The capability of implementing patches as well as updates for keeping corporate data secured on the mobile device, which might or might not be owned, are common problems of patch management.

Manual Patching: Manually patching all applications on all systems isn’t a useful solution. It is particularly true in big businesses where an application inventory usually ranges from thousands. In the perfect world, IT would get the time as well as resources to do all updates. However, it is not an ideal world.

What Is the Future of Patch Management?

  • A More Secured Environment: If you’re frequently patching vulnerabilities, you’re managing and reducing the risks, which exist in the environment. It helps in protecting your business from possible security breaches.
  • Constant Product Improvement: You could implement patches for updating your technology using improved functionality and features. It can offer your organization a way of deploying the latest innovations for software at scale. 
  • Happy Customers: In case your organization is selling a service or product, which needs customers to utilize your technology, it’s very important that the technology works well. Patch management is a procedure of fixing software bugs that help in keeping your systems well and running. 
  • No Needless Fines: In case, your organization isn’t patching as well as not meeting the compliance standards, you can get hit with a few monetary fines from controlling bodies. Effective patch management makes sure that you are compliant.

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