Most of the people that have an idea about Patch management will often see it as a trivial task. They Simply think of it as a click on 'update' and that's it. But in reality, there's a lot more to it and a proper policy is certainly needed.
A Security Patch Management Policy is where you can
pre-approve the patchesthat will be installed on your devices on an ongoing basis, based on conditions you define. So what should a patch management policy include apart from deploying patches?
Here are the things that you need to know about
Knowing when there is a need for a patch to be made is a must. A Security Patch Management Policy should have a section detailing what must be done to ensure the personnel what to do in this situation.
You can consider Patch scanning as an option. Patch scanning can be the most convenient method. It can be setup and left to work autonomously. However, even then your monitoring policy should still include monitoring of current events for it's not always the case that a patch is released before a vulnerability is made known to the world. Sometimes the weaknesses are disclosed before a vendor has had time to develop a patch and it is mandatory that when this happens your team should act on it just the same.
You should include details of what the patch management team should do when an application or operation system component requires patching but the patch is not yet available. What will be the steps would they need to take before disabling a component or implementing a workaround? Who are the stakeholders they'll ask for an approval?
You need to ensure that the patch about to be deployed will not conflict with the current environment. The organization will need to require an effective policy. The patch management team has a current mirror of the different environments in the organization, so that patches can be tested on these systems before being deployed to live environments.
Most of the time, People relate patch management to the operation system only. Applications that aren't connected to the operation system also require patching for they can be a security risk. It's important to define the scope of the patch management operation to ensure no application is overlooked during the patch management process.
It's a must that you need to list the times and limit of operations the patch management team is allowed to carry out. For example, patches that do not require a restart might be deployed during working hours, while those that do are deployed after working hours. The policy would need to include a notification to users when they can expect reboots or when they are required to have their machines available for a patch deployment.
Regardless of how good your staff and systems are, things can still go wrong. Therefore, the policy should include a disaster recovery procedure, including details on how to revert bad patches or what the team should do if reverting to a previous version is not possible.
Patch management is generally included in various compliance regulations. Thus, the team has to document their efforts to be in compliance with certain regulations. Effective reporting can also help pinpoint potential issues; allowing for further refinement of the policy and instructions that will help the team avoid attacks in future.
Like anything else, patch management is about making sure all your bases are covered in case something goes wrong. Having a Security patch management policy is all about protecting yourself in the worst case scenario. A list of things like this is a great foundation. In case it brings up something that you may have forgotten some things when preparing a system of patch management for your organization.
A single flaw in Security Patch Management operation can lead to downtime, loss of your profit and reputation.
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