Patch management is the process of adding patches to existing software. Effective patch management processes fix security issues and bugs.
The process will allow you to keep track of released software patches, and ensure to stay up to date and secure. This will assist you in reducing your risk and keep your organization’s systems secure at all times. If you don’t patch your software on time, then it will lead to the system being vulnerable to attackers, and as result, your business may suffer. Always make sure to improve patch management processes and safe and secure systems.
Patch Management Techniques
Keep your systems secure by optimizing your patch management process. There are various methods for managing patches and keeping systems remain secure. So, let’s see the best techniques of patch management and a few suggestions for quick and effective implementation.
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- Consolidate Software
Using numerous versions of the same programs on different systems can increase the chance of a risk.
Instead, try to consolidate software by re-evaluating your software requirements and limiting usage to company-approved applications.
To begin, make sure you’re not utilizing duplicate applications and it’s always best to use a single type of software for a single task. Also, check the software versions remain the same.
- Perform a System Inventory
A recommended practice for patch management is, to begin with, the inventor of systems.
For this, you should have an idea about which software and hardware are used and how your environment is configured currently. Keep a track of your systems and applications in use.
You’ll quickly be able to pay attention to vulnerabilities and discover available patches if you have a good understanding of what you’re working with.
- Identify Risk and Vulnerability
Several fixes may be overdue based on the results of your inventory. So, now determine the risk levels of your systems and assign risk levels to each of them.
Based on the levels of risk, you can determine and prioritize the order in which systems require immediate deployment and which can be delayed.
Some factors to consider while evaluating the risk levels are: Which vulnerability can be exploited, the length of time a system has been left unpatched, and whether or not the system has internet connectivity.
- Develop a Patch Management Policy
It’s Important to follow the clear patch management policy and specify how, when and what should be patched. It’s essential to make a note in your policy if some system patches more frequently than others.
Also, consider how long each system’s patch rollout will take and when the patches will be applied to minimize downtime and ensure that systems can continue to function normally.
- Monitor Patch Availability
You should stay current with the patches of your systems requirements and keep track of patches that are published.
After you have compiled a list of all the operating systems and third-party software, you should have a strategy for monitoring which security updates are required and free from vulnerabilities. Software vendors communicate the update release, and they have their database for quick access to available patches.
- Apply Quick patches
Another recommended approach for patch management is to apply patches. You should ensure that any patches for your software are applied on time according to the patch management policy. It’s better to quickly patch an item that is vulnerable to attack and avoid this by applying patches when they become available.
To reduce risk, protect unpatched software or servers from internet access and reduce user access until the patch is fully deployed.
- Effective Patch Test
To effectively manage patches, you must also take caution and ensure to test patches before applying them to all of your systems. Because each environment is unique, a patch may cause issues with some specific configurations.
Before implementing the patches to all of your systems, you should test them on a small sample. When the test shows the patch is working well, then the full patch can be deployed.
- Automate Patching Process
You should automate the process, to make your system more secure and effectively manage patches. While automating the patching process, ensure the patches are applied quickly and efficiently whenever they become available.
Your systems should only be unpatched for a short period, leaving them vulnerable to attacks. It’s more beneficial to use a tool like a patch management automation. We can help you in prioritizing the patches based on their severity and fix the patch for you. Click here to get the support.