Tip Tuesday: How to perfect your patch management process

Tip TuesdayAt the heart of most cybersecurity breaches is a faulty patch management process. A recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute on behalf of ServiceNow found that 57 percent of organizations that reported a breach suffered because a patch that was available to safe-guard against that vulnerability had not been applied. That means that 57 percent of those breaches could have been prevented easily!

That’s why it’s time to develop a better patch management process for your customers—if you haven’t done so already. This week’s tip comes from Mike Vizard. In a recent article for the Barracuda blog, he wrote:

The good news is advances in DevSecOps should help address patch management issues. In addition, applications built using containers such as Docker eliminate the need to patch applications altogether. New functionality is added by simply replacing one set of containers for another. But legacy applications that rely on patches to be updated will be with us for at least another decade or more.

In the meantime, it’s obvious that patch management processes need to become more automated. Cybersecurity professionals and their developer allies can’t keep pace. Not patching applications in a timely manner now borders on the reckless. The sad truth is that overreliance on manual patch management processes makes it too easy for cybercriminals. That may not necessarily rise to the standard of aiding and abetting the enemy. But reliance on manual patch management processes is definitely a lot closer to meeting that definition than any organization should ever allow.”

To learn more findings from the study, read the rest of the post here.

Best practices for patch management

Recently, we teamed up with Chris Crellin and Smarter MSP to look at best practices to implement to help the patch management process run smoothly. Here are the highlights.

  1. Make sure your customers’ subscriptions and maintenance fees are paid. If you aren’t being billed automatically for these subscriptions, try using your CRM tool to keep an updated list of when the next payment needs to be sent.
  2. Test patches in a sandbox environment to ensure they’re not infected. Auto-updates can be a great way to make sure every patch is implemented; however, it’s best to test the patch beforehand to make sure it’s compatible.
  3. Implement a patching process that keeps business interruption to a minimum. Don’t schedule a software patch during peak business hours. Instead integrate most patches with your RMM tool and roll them out in bulk on off hours.
  4. Sell patch management as part of your managed services offering. Patch management is a value-added service that can help your customers avoid becoming a victim of the most recent zero-day threat, so be sure, at the very least, to point this out in your quarterly review.
  5. Watch out for patch notifications from your vendors. One of the most important things to keep track of in terms of patch management is when the next patch will be and what the patch will be fixing.

Photo:  Alexander Supertramp / Shutterstock.

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