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Importance of Patch Management

Importance of Patch Management

The security of today’s information systems go far beyond the general protection measures that were once considered to provide ample security against intrusion. For many companies that are implementing new technologies one of the top priorities in today’s world is security. There are many different aspects that define the overall security of a company’s infrastructure, one of which is patch management.

Patching is the process of repairing system vulnerabilities which are discovered after the infrastructure components have been released on the market.  Patches apply to many different parts of an information system which include operating systems, servers, routers, desktops, email clients, office suites, mobile devices, firewalls, and many other components that exist within the network infrastructure.  The number of patches which are required on a consistent basis can be overwhelming.  This is why it is necessary to devise a patch management process to ensure the proper preventive measures are taken against potential threats.

How Patch Management Works

 The methods which are used for patch management will vary slightly according to the infrastructure design for each company information system.  That said here is a general description of how patch management is typically deployed.

Most companies with large infrastructures implement automated patch management systems which reduce the requirements for manpower that would otherwise be needed for manual implementation. Other companies choose to outsource patch management to a qualified company which will perform this service from a remote location.

An automated patch management system involves the installation of a client agent that allows network administrators to control patch distribution from a web-based interface.  This type of system allows network administrators to configure the settings for patch distribution and generate log reports to check the status of patches. Patch distribution can also be set at different levels within the infrastructure to cover different applications and devices which are used to access data and information.

Consequences of Not Deploying Patch Management

 Due to the fact that the components which make up network infrastructure and information systems are not perfect when they are released on the market makes patch distribution all that much more important.  patch management is preventative and the number of vulnerabilities discovered over an extended period of time can seriously compromise the integrity and security of information.

In the event there is a window of vulnerability, a solid patch management system means a network is being consistently monitored.  This allows immediate action to be taken if a patch has yet to be released when a vulnerability is discovered.  The importance here is the prevention of what is known as a ‘Zero Day Attack’ which is an exploit that can occur while a patch is in the process of being produced to repair the vulnerability.  Attacks such as these can be minor or they can be as malicious as taking down an entire company network.

Patch Management Key Concerns

 Patch management is very critical to business operations however it also tends to be considered a responsibility of the IT department.  While this is partially true patch management within an organization’s infrastructure cannot be successful without the understanding and support of the senior management.

Instead of waiting for the issue to be addressed when a problem occurs it is important to implement and plan for patch management in advance.  The key concerns for many companies are in the number of patches and the manpower needed to deploy them.  However, new technologies along with enterprises which offer patch management services have made patch management implementation and distribution easier and more cost-effective.

Patch management services can help to keep your network secure while reducing costs. Contact Thrive to find out more about making patch management easier.