Patching is time-consuming and disruptive. However, it is an essential part of IT maintenance and security, no matter how big or small your company is. It’s important for organizations to stay on top of patching in order to keep their systems up-to-date and secure. Not only does patching protect against potential threats, but it also ensures that applications are running optimally and efficiently. Without regular patching, your company could face significant risks, such as data loss or system downtime due to out-of-date software or hardware components.
What is Patching?
Patching is the process of updating software or hardware with fixes or new features. It can help protect a system from bugs, viruses, malware, or other security threats. Patches can be released by the manufacturer of the software or hardware, or they may be created by third-party developers.
Reasons Why Companies Do Not Patch Regularly
There are many reasons why companies do not regularly apply patches to their IT assets, even when they know that they should. First, patching is a lot of work, even if you have excellent patch management software. It takes a lot of time to patch every website browser, software application, operating system, and device. Often, a patch for one program may cause an issue for another one. This can create a lot of hassle for IT managers that can sometimes seem not worth it.
Second, if there aren’t strong patch management policies and a patch management process that can be relied on, it’s simply a task that can fall by the wayside. Most of the time, you probably won’t face a serious data breach by delaying a software patch. This is why it seems like not a big deal to delay the patching process and related headaches for a week or a month. However, it is possible that the software you don’t patch becomes the vulnerability hackers exploit today or tomorrow. The sooner that you patch, the smaller your risk.
What Happens When You Don’t Patch Regularly
The large-scale Equifax breach in 2017 may not have happened if the company had been more on top of its patching strategy. The patch that addressed the vulnerability hackers used to exploit the data of 143 million Americans was issued two months before the cyber security incident took place. Had Equifax stayed on top of the available patches, the data breach wouldn’t have happened.
Failing to deploy a patch when it becomes available puts your company in legal jeopardy. In the event of a breach, your company could be held liable for not keeping up with patches. In other words, if the vendor issues a patch that leads to a breach or other cybersecurity event, they pass on the responsibility for updating it to you.
How to Be Strategic About Patching Activities
There are some things that you can do to reduce the burden of patching and increase your company’s protection against cybersecurity risks.
Patch the Highest Risk Applications First
If you want to reduce your risk of a cyberattack and can’t patch everything at once, it’s a good idea to start by patching the highest-risk applications first. Internet browsers, email clients, and your internal network are among the more common ways data breaches occur. If you have to choose what to patch, always do a quick risk assessment to ensure that you focus on those high-risk applications first.
Have a Regular Patching Schedule
For most companies, there are enough IT assets in place that you could set up a regular patching schedule, such as once a month, to implement all patches. This can help to reduce the burden of having so many accumulated patches to deploy at once.
Test Patches Before Deploying
It’s always a good idea to test patches on a single device or network before having the patch deployed to the entire workforce. This way, you will know if an issue will arise between integrations and compatibility with other programs in advance.
Learn About Infrastrastructure Patch Management Services from Different Dev
There’s no doubt that patch management is cumbersome. Fortunately, that’s something we can help with. Contact Different Dev to learn more about the infrastructure patch management services we offer.