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Following the recent cyberattacks on JBS meatpacking company and Colonial Pipeline, the White House released a memo urging business leaders to safeguard their business against ransomware. The government highlighted five best practices for protecting businesses (and individuals) against ransomware attacks.
Last week we discussed backups. Today we’ll walk you through prompt updates and patches.
Fact: all patches are updates, but not all updates are patches.
While updates deal with a range of features, patches focus on resolving any vulnerabilities in an application. (Note, it can take multiple patches to solve a system vulnerability.)
While updating and patching systems are essential for your business, differentiating the two helps solve critical vulnerabilities with ease.
“Update” is a relatively broad term that covers different features and vulnerabilities. An “update” is issued for different reasons, such as:
While updates are helpful, many people consider them as “the annoying pop-ups they love to ignore.” Others people may consider updates as a time-consuming mandate –more so when loaded with other tasks. Still, other people skip updates following a bad experience with previous updates. Think of slower processing and malfunctions.
Update turn-offs are particularly prevalent in an office setting. No one wants to cause an inconvenience that can slow down business processes. That’s why 80% of CIOs and CISOs admit to postponing updates.
Now you may be able to postpone updates, but patches not so much.
Unlike updates, patches have a specific goal. They repair a flaw or vulnerability identified after the release of a software or application.
A new patch can:
Unpatched systems are vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Generally, hackers (malicious actors) use code to exploit any weaknesses in the security of a software program or operating system. Over 60% of security breaches are traced back to unpatched system weaknesses.
While experience shows that few businesses take patching action when necessary, don’t be in that category. Patching is critical for your business because:
When you identify a vulnerability/weakness, you can either:
Obviously, patch management is the safest route.
Patch management is the process of acquiring, testing, and installing multiple code changes (patches) on existing software and applications. The goal is to:
As mentioned, patch management serves to detect missing patches, text the existing patches for compatibility with the system, and install the hotfixes regularly. It also provides instant updates (or reports) on the latest patch deployments/installation.
Given the high budget and time pressures facing business owners (and their IT departments), automating the day-to-day patch management routine is critical. This automation uses patch management software to ensure all the computer systems remain updated with the latest code changes from software or application vendors.
Besides saving time and reducing cost, automation ensures consistent patching for more reduced security risks. It also makes the patching process more streamlined and deploys updates to every system in your network.
Side note: If you’re starting or have a small system network (say 2-3 computers), you can embrace manual patch management. Here, your IT guy can run a patch report of your apps and software. And show you the current status of your updates.
If some applications are out-of-date, search for updates on the search bar and run the resulting options manually. Once done, set for updates to run automatically.
For Window users, that means:
An effective automated patch management solution equips each business/enterprise to update its endpoint with current patch releases, irrespective of the operating systems. Here, the automated patch management solution:
To enhance cybersecurity through patch management, organizations should:
It’s one thing to create an automated patch management solution; an entirely different story to stick to the set patching strategy. Maintaining cybersecurity-sensitive teams calls for continuous security awareness training, which can be costly and time-intensive.
Fortunately for you, Colorado Computer Support (CSS) is an expert at patch management. We provide patch testing, regular deployment, and more. We also monitor your technological systems (24/7) to detect and mitigate potential cyberattacks. Our primary focus is to help your business improve operational efficiency and productivity through customized IT support. Contact us today for a discussion on how CSS can help your business lower cybersecurity risks.