What is Patch Management?
Patch management is the process of tracking and deploying software updates and patches across Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mac servers, workstations and laptops, applications such as Adobe, Java, and others throughout an organization. Patches could add new features, fix software bugs, and most importantly, fix uncovered known vulnerabilities. Patch management a vital part of any cybersecurity program.
Unfortunately, there are several challenges to managing patches:
- Overwhelming number of patches – It can be a daunting task to monitor multiple vendors for a constant stream of software updates, evaluate the patches to determine applicability, apply the patches, and verify successful remediation.
- Patches have side effects – New patches should be tested before deployment to ensure the update does not conflict with other software, introduce new vulnerabilities, or affect functionality.
- Patches can require downtime – Critical services on a server may need to be stopped, or a system may need to be rebooted to install the patch, impacting system availability and service level agreements.
- Audit requirements – While important for proper change control and auditing, it can be very time-consuming to document patch requests, approvals and verification.
Why Does Patch Management Matter?
Cyber-attackers continue to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems and software applications. Vendors continuously respond by fixing the vulnerabilities through software updates. Without the right investments in people, process, and technology, an organization can quickly fall behind on critical patches that address security and compliance requirements.
Recent industry research has found that many common cyber attacks are preventable with proper patch management. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report found that “for the overwhelming majority of attacks exploiting known vulnerabilities, the patch had been available for months prior to the breach.”
A comprehensive patch management program that includes automation change control, and reporting, is the key to reducing your attack surface and meeting compliance mandates. Automation technology should be used to check your endpoints and servers for missing patches automatically. The solution should enable you to deploy updates in a controlled fashion, and allow you to test patches before wider deployment.
With a patch management solution, you will be able to:
- Maintain current knowledge of patches for OS’s, browsers, and 3rd-party applications
- Evaluate which patches are applicable for particular systems
- Deploy patches to multiple systems in one action
- Verify that patches are installed properly
- Provide an auditable change management process
- Generate reports for process improvement and audit records
These activities can make drastic improvements in your security posture and prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.
How Does Cygilant Help?
SOCVue Patch Management reduces your exposure to known vulnerabilities by proactively detecting and deploying recommended security patches. The service automatically scans Windows and Linux endpoints for missing patches for the OS, browser and 3rd-party applications like Java and Adobe. Through SOCVue change control processes, you can review, approve, schedule and remediate patches and report on changes to improve security and meet compliance mandates. The SOCVue Patch Management service combines the low cost and flexibility of a SaaS solution with the support and expertise of a 24x7x365 Security Operations Center. Cygilant’s SOC team will install and maintain the platform, and assist with the ticketing and audit reports to meet industry best practices. There is no hidden server maintenance cost or effort for your in-house team.
By combining our hybrid security-as-a-service solutions, SOCVue Vulnerability Management, SOCVue Security Monitoring, and SOCVue Patch Management, your organization can easily correlate vulnerability results with detected active attacks in your network.
We save our customers 100s of hours and 1000s of dollars every week, and give them peace of mind with 24x7 detection and response to security incidents and vulnerabilities. Get in touch to learn how we can help your organization be more resilient to cyberattacks and compliance mandates.