It’s Time to Automate Your Patch Management

Because It’s Too Easy To Forget

CodeHunter | It’s Time to Automate Your Patch Management

A hard truth: If you’re not patched up, you’re at risk.


As a leader in the cybersecurity world, we regularly advise readers and clients to patch early and often — but patching comes with its own problems. We hear you: Patching is not only inconvenient, it may be consuming resources you simply don’t have. Our solution? Automate your patch management — because it’s too easy to forget.


Why Aren’t You Patched Up?


Cyber attacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication across the board, leaving organizations fearful of what’s to come — yet companies and institutions are still failing to patch their systems. Patches are pieces of code that close security gaps and vulnerabilities. According to recent research, the average time to patch vulnerabilities is 202 days, which is nearly seven months. Most cybersecurity experts would agree that we need to get that number down to seven hours.


Over the summer, a series of well-publicized attacks sent shockwaves across the globe — including ransomware at the Colonial Pipeline Company and foreign attacks on the U.S. government via the SolarWinds Hack. Many of these recent attacks were zero-days. During zero-days, a bad actor exploits unknown vulnerabilities in applications, servers, systems, or networks.


Other times, devastating attacks occur despite known vulnerabilities and available patches. While security experts are often quick to find solutions to new threats, building perimeters requires compliance. In an ideal patching scenario, a software company discovers a vulnerability; creates an effective patch at record speed; and releases it to the public, who then patches early and often. With seven months of patching lag time, we are lingering far away from our ideal — and putting our systems and networks at risk.


The WannaCry Attack — Failure to Patch


The 2017 WannaCry attack was aptly named — Microsoft had already released the patch for Windows that could have prevented the attack. The ransomware solely affected companies that either failed to patch or were using end-of-life legacy systems that were so old they could not be updated. The result? Systems across the globe were devastated, costing billions in losses. And people’s lives were put at risk when the ransomware infected 70,000 devices throughout National Health Services Hospitals in England and Scotland.


Patching Problems


As you can imagine, the WannaCry attack spurred a new wave of automated patch management and a stronger commitment to patch early and often — but most companies and institutions are still lagging behind. Patch management takes time and human resources that many small to medium-sized businesses simply don’t have.


Beyond resource constraints, patching has problems of its own. First of all, patching is not 100% effective for all systems and environments across the board. All patches must be tested in a stage environment to gauge compatibility with existing systems. Failure to do so could crash the system. Downtime in healthcare systems, for example, is a life and death situation. And while not all patch procrastination stems from life threatening scenarios, downtime and conflicting interests keep many individuals and businesses from updating. Consider how often you delay updates on your personal computer or mobile device — sometimes it’s a simple matter of inconvenience.


A Solution: Automated Patch Management


Make your life easier with automated patches — designed to keep your systems safe and up to date every step of the way. You focus on work. Automated patch management will take care of the security updates.


Automated patch management offers the following:


Discovery These integrated platforms do the work of discovering which patches are available for the applications, systems, and networks you are running — and allow you to view all of them from one central platform.


Integrated Platform

Manage your patches from one central platform. You can decide whether you want to install the updates manually or automatically.


Testing

You choose when and how to automate patches. All patches should be tested and evaluated in a staging environment to prevent unnecessary downtime. This is performed by your technician, but managed by the central platform. If a patch doesn’t work for your system or network, you will be aware of your risks with detailed records and tracking.


Automated Patching

With the click of a button, you can patch your systems and network.


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