Patch Management is most likely ignored among the security topics, but it is an important component of any security plan.
Patch Management is the process of handling all the updates of components within the companies information system. These include routers, firewalls, servers, operating systems, anti-viruses, along with much more that could exist within a network. It means that someone is doing just that — managing these patches.
Because a patch is a piece of code, it has to be installed. Which means that someone also has to know that they exist, decide if they are necessary, and then take steps to avoid problems that can occur while deploying a patch. In the best cases, there is a whole process around an organization's patch management where the patches are assessed, installed, tested and documented.
A common example of a patch is Windows updates. If you use Windows, you are probably familiar with those messages from your operating system (OS) prompting you to accept them, or with Windows 10, that your machine will need to be restarted due to updates.
Software is one of the humans' masterpiece. Like everything else, human error comes into play. Unintended flaws may happen. In which, this will leave an opportunity for an attack from malicious hackers.
It rarely occurs. Due to the lack of time between the discovery of the loophole and the creation of a patch, the hacker does not have enough time to create an exploit for the vulnerability. This means that 99.9% of attacks happen due to commonly used exploits and commonly found vulnerabilities existing in companies' systems, that have not yet been patched. Most of the attacks could easily have been prevented and systems protected. However, due to bad patching practices. Everything went wrong.
When a vendor stops supporting software, it means that they will no longer release patches for discovered vulnerabilities. When new loopholes come to light, they will remain vulnerable as nothing will be done to fix them. It's advisable to stop using this software as exploits for these will become more common and this will only attract hackers.
When the antivirus is outdated. It's pretty much useless. New threats that have been discovered since its last update cannot be picked up, as it'll not show any no record of it being a vulnerability. Patching your anti-virus means that it can pick up everything that it should do.
How much will a security breach cost? What if your company has been breached due to lack of patch management? Then, it'll be very expensive for the business. If there's no plan in place on how to manage the systems after the incident then the breach will become unmanageable; resulting in the loss of more money. Patch management also includes guidance if something were to go wrong.
Here's a simple analogy:
Imagine yourself maintaining a car. Without regular check-ups, new tires and parts, you can still drive your car, however, it'll become dangerous to drive if you keep avoiding the mechanic. Eventually, the car may break down or cause an accident. You don't want that to happen.
Just like most people ignoring the importance of Patch Management. Someday, they'll get hacked and they'll just feel powerless to act in a way to stop it from happening.
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