TechDogs-"All You Need To Know About Patch Management"

IT Security

All You Need To Know About Patch Management

By TechDogs

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Can you recall who said these lines in the famous series, Mission Impossible? “What’s done is done, when we say it’s done.”

Ethan Hunt, of course! Who can forget the dashing agent from the Impossible Missions Force (IMF)? We're not going to talk about Ethan’s charm, though it is hard to ignore! Do you remember what Ethan did in IMF? He managed to solve everything in the end – be it stopping international criminal organizations or scaling the Burj Khalifa.

What if we said that there’s software that is similar to Ethan Hunt? To your surprise, it is something that, like Ethan, helps organizations make sure they are always up to date on the latest issues so they can resolve them. Wondering what it is? Just like Ethan Hunt, Patch Management Software deploys software patches to fix any bugs that have been discovered in your codes to keep the business up-to-date and secure.

If you want to know about how Patch Management works and helps you; including its history, working, best practices, benefits and future, read this article!
TechDogs-"All You Need To Know About Patch Management" Still Puzzled About Software Patches?
What comes to your mind when you hear about Ethan Hunt? A uniquely trained, elite, top-secret espionage and highly motivated IMF senior field agent that can handle dangerous and highly sensitive missions. He can solve every issue he comes across using the latest intel and information.

Patch Management is our Ethan Hunt. How, you ask? The internet has quickly become a part of our daily lives. We use it for everything from shopping to socializing. However, the danger that comes with being online is cybercrime. Cybercriminals can attack your personal information, your digital identity, or even your bank account. In addition to these dangers, they can also infect your computer with malware and viruses that can hinder your system, leading to costly repairs. Luckily, Patch Management is here to rescue you – just like Ethan Hunt.

Since many companies rely on software for various aspects of their business operations, it's crucial to have a sound Patch Management policy in place to maintain stability and productivity. Thus, it is crucial to understand every aspect of Patch Management before deploying it for your organization.

Learn about Patch Management, its evolution, working, best practices, benefits and future with us. We communicate very well.

First Things First – What is Patch Management?

Did you know that the average company’s network lasts for about 315 days before it faces some kind of breach? You must be wondering how can they avoid it. Your answer is through Patch Management. However, before heading straight to Patch Management, let’s first learn what software patches are.

A software patch is usually a piece of software designed to update or fix bugs (problems) in the existing or older programs. Sometimes, the patches are created for purposes such as adding features and functionality, however, they always include bug fixes. The term "patch" can also refer to any modification that corrects a problem within the system. Now, let us learn about Patch Management.

Patch Management is the process to keep your software up to date with the latest security patches, fixes and updates to ensure that vulnerabilities are removed. It makes the enterprise system incompatible with malware or other software from being installed on the system to exploit it. Think of the way Ethan detects and removes moles from his team!

Patch Management is all about maintaining the stability of your operating systems, applications and networks to maximize their availability. You should prioritize this as it will help you catch up with hackers and cyber-criminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in your system.

After knowing about Patch Management, let’s see how it came about in the next section.

History Of Patch Management

Without further ado, let us belong to the history of Patch Management.

In the wake of large-scale attacks that infected networks across geographies, the industry created a system to catalog and track vulnerabilities. The first vulnerability database was released in 1999. The US federal government adopted it on the recommendation of the National Institute of Standards and Technology which published the "Use of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Vulnerability Naming Scheme" in 2002. However, its use wasn't wide scale until 2011 when National Vulnerability Database (NVD) was developed.

The National Vulnerability Database has become an effective tool for organizing and prioritizing vulnerabilities. They do this by calculating their risk score, which is how long it would take to resolve the vulnerability with a patch. From 2011 onwards, Patch Management became an essential security best practice among many enterprises and it has continued until today.

Now that we know its history, let’s know the working of Patch Management in the following section.

How Does Patch Management Work?

TechDogs-"How Does Patch Management Work?"A Meme With Mr. T About Patch Management
Ethan Hunt follows a hierarchy to work with his team and solve issues. He first identifies the threat, makes a plan (that usually involves a chase!) and deploys all the necessary actions and processes to achieve his impossible mission. Similarly, Patch Management follows a hierarchy of steps for completing the process. The order is as follows:
  • Analyzing

    Analyzing and monitoring vulnerabilities to the system and environment in the business network infrastructure.

  • Identifying The Patch

    Identifying the patch to address the vulnerability or threat analyzed.

  • Planning A Patch

    Developing a plan to implement the software patch. This step includes understanding how it impacts integrated systems, tools and environments.

  • Analyzing The Patch

    Implementing the patch, including its time and date. It also analyzes the expected impact on your customer experience and overall performance.

  • Testing

    Applying a patch to test the final environment, user acceptance, performance and security test scenarios.

  • Deployment

    Deploying the patch to the production environment.

  • Record

    Updating a record in a configuration file for future reference. 

That was simple, right? Let's hop on to the next section to learn about the best practices of Patch Management.

Best Practices Of Patch Management

Ethan always follows best practices to solve any issue and he wants us to follow the best practices of Patch Management! Thus, we present to you the best practices of Patch Management:
  • Communicate

    Communicating the essential nature of Patch Management will make it an integral part of all IT activities.

  • Monitor The Patch Status Of Applications

    Ensuring you are aware of when you need new patches. The best way to do this is by employing a solution that monitors your network's patch status and notifies you whenever they need modification.

  • Always Test

    When deploying patches without thoroughly testing them, you may have a conflict that could cause problems on your infrastructure. One of the patches is likely to be incompatible with another software and as a result, creates issues for your business. Thus, it is always essential to run a test.

  • Work In Collaboration With Managed Service Providers

    Many managed IT service providers offer patch management services that are tailored to meet the needs of different businesses so that you can focus on other essential things.

  • Establish A Disaster Recovery Plan

    One of the most important, yet often overlooked, best practice is to have a plan in place that should replace a patch if it fails and causes problems. Backups are the easiest option you can use to mitigate other risks such as virus infection or even an intrusion in case the patch fails.

Now that you know all the best practices, let’s know their benefits in the following section.

Benefits Of Patch Management

TechDogs-"Benefits Of Patch Management"An Austin Powers Meme About Not Using Patch Management
As Benjamin Franklin quotes “Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.” Let us also write the benefits of Patch Management, not in marble though!
  • High-level Of Security

    The most prominent benefit that the Patch Management service provides is constant security. After the product release, people encounter bugs in the program/software prone to cyber-attacks which can cause a severe breach. In this scenario, Patch Management ensures the vulnerabilities susceptible to exploitation are fixed and helps avoid malicious activities, theft or long-lasting reputational damage.

  • Wide Range Of Innovative Features

    The landscape of technology evolves quickly, demanding new features. Patches and updates offer these new features - allowing the software company to keep up with the latest trends in technology so that their products have the best unique services to offer.

  • Maintaining Compliance

    The increased reports of cyber incidents, unpatched bug problems and negligence in data protection from various organizations have made it mandatory to follow security industry regulations. Patch Management will help maintain a certain level of compliance standards.

  • Enhance Productivity

    Automated Patch Management detects and installs hotfixes to provide deployment status, as well as boosts staff productivity by focusing on other areas of programs.

  • Reduce Downtime

    With an automated Patch Management solution, your entire company's efficiency will be better. It also ensures that all systems will be secure and up to date leading to better productivity and outcomes.

Wait, the road to the future of Patch Management is here! Read all about it in the following section.

Future Of Patch Management

The future of Patch Management will depend on automation. Organizations need to identify patterns in real-time to keep up with the sophistication of threat actors such as cyber-criminals and hackers ready to exploit issues. Hence, Machine Learning will find new use cases in the patch management sector. If there is a known vulnerability, finding solutions for IT security teams would be easier and more proactive. Moreover, soon these tools will apply solutions while predicting what comes next with very little human intervention. #AutomationRules

It’s A Wrap

TechDogs-"It’s A Wrap"A Meme Of Kermit The Frog Sipping Tea And Saying “It’s A Wrap!”
Ethan never leaves a mission mid-way and neither do we! So, the grand finale of Patch Management would say that the organizations that don't keep up with Patch Management put their data, networks and endpoints at risk. Organizations should always install any software updates they receive as soon as possible to reduce the chance of being compromised by attackers. Businesses should also develop patches internally to get an edge in the industry. The more patches an organization has installed, the lower the chance of it being compromised by attackers. Mission Accomplished!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Patch Management?

Patch Management is a crucial process designed to keep your software up to date with the latest security patches, fixes, and updates. In the digital age where cyber threats are rampant, Patch Management acts as a shield against potential vulnerabilities. It ensures that your enterprise systems remain protected from malware and unauthorized software installations that could compromise your system's integrity. By regularly updating software and addressing vulnerabilities promptly, Patch Management helps maintain the stability of your operating systems, applications, and networks, thereby safeguarding your organization against cyber threats.

How Does Patch Management Work?

Patch Management follows a systematic approach akin to the strategic process of an elite team tackling a mission, much like Ethan Hunt and his IMF team. It begins with analyzing and monitoring vulnerabilities within your business network infrastructure, followed by identifying the necessary patches to address these vulnerabilities. Planning the implementation of these patches is crucial, ensuring minimal disruption and maximum effectiveness. Testing patches thoroughly before deployment is essential to mitigate conflicts and ensure compatibility with existing systems. Once tested, patches are deployed to the production environment, and records are updated for future reference, completing the Patch Management cycle.

What Are the Benefits of Patch Management?

Patch Management offers a plethora of benefits that contribute to the overall security, efficiency, and productivity of your organization. Firstly, it provides a high level of security by continuously addressing vulnerabilities and reducing the risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. Additionally, regular updates and patches introduce innovative features, keeping your software current and competitive in the ever-evolving technological landscape. Patch Management also aids in maintaining compliance with industry regulations, reducing downtime, enhancing productivity, and ultimately safeguarding your organization's reputation and integrity. By embracing Patch Management, businesses can stay resilient against emerging threats and maintain a competitive edge in the digital era.

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