What Is Patch Management and Why It’s Important for Your Business
Today, security is a primary concern for every business, regardless of size. Software manufacturers are constantly updating security within software and hardware in order to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.
These security enhancements are issued in the form of “patches” or small bits of software code that is “patched” into the existing program to close vulnerabilities. Updating patches can be time-consuming, but in order to stay safe, companies must be vigilant. Without these patches, network software and operating systems become vulnerable and are at risk of a breach.
Here’s a look at what patches are exactly, and why patch management is critical for keeping your business network and data safe and secure.
What is Patch Management?
A patch is a change to a program designed to fix, improve or update it. Patches can apply to a number of system components including the OS, server, router, desktop, email, client info, office suites, firewalls, mobile devices and more. Depending on how you structure your system, the method of managing patches can differ.
Patches are typically released to:
- Close security vulnerabilities
- Fix bugs
- Improve the performance of an application or program
- Improve the usability of applications or programs
Without patches, your network software and operating system can be at risk of a security breach.
Why Patch Management Is Critical
Here’s an example of why patch management is important.
In 2017 more than 143 million consumers were put at risk due to a breach at Equifax. The information stolen included credit card and social security numbers, phone numbers and more. As a result, Equifax paid about 1 billion dollars in legal fees, faced criminal charges, and their business reputation was tarnished. It turns out that the attack was the result of an unpatched web app that hackers exploited. A patch was available 2 months before the attack, but due to mismanagement, Equifax never detected, identified or updated the software.
You Need a Plan
The fact is, 85 percent of exploits have had a patch available for over a year and 74 percent of organizations take 3 months or more to apply a patch.
For many companies, the reason they don’t install patches as they’re released is that it’s difficult. The process is time-consuming, and depending on the size of the organization, there may be multiple patches needed. That’s why it’s critical to have a patch management plan.
Outsourcing patch management to a qualified third-party provider can save time and ensure that your network remains secure. In fact, a patch management program can even be automated via the cloud to keep you updated and protected automatically as patches are released.
Let us help! If you’d like to learn more about how professional patch management can help keep your company safer, give us a call. We’ll show how, with a strong patch management system in place, your business data and network can stay secure, 24/7.