The Critical Importance of Regularly Patching Your Network Devices
Maintaining your business security is a vigilant process. With cybercrime threats increasing around the clock, your defenses have to match up. Cyber criminals are constantly developing and improving their technique as they find new methods of targeting businesses and their data.
That’s why many companies choose to work with a managed service provider, which offers technological expertise at a scalable cost. Many businesses don’t realize the scale of the threat they face, and consider it sufficient to enforce minimal security measures by downloading some security software and leaving it at that. But without a regular maintenance program of patching and updating, the software will quickly become ineffective.
Data breaches are a very serious matter; apart from the obvious costs of time and inconvenience for your company, there are substantial regulatory fines for failing to maintain your security systems, not to mention the loss of business and reputation.
In fact, for some companies the cost of a data breach can be deadly. More than 60% of breaches that occur could have been prevented by scanning for vulnerabilities and patching, but were not used. Shocking statistics like that really emphasize just how important it is to keep the systems you rely on regularly updated.
What Is Patching?
You might have come across those pop-up windows when you start your computer in the morning, telling you that software updates are available to install. These fixes are referred to as “patches.” They work in between version upgrades of the security software on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer to keep you secure against threats which have evolved since your last installation.
It ensures that your security is working properly, and can update new features that your security software develops. Many people constantly hit “remind me later,” but these patches provide crucial software updates which fix holes in the system and keep your business well protected. They fill any gaps in the updated programming sequence that had been missed in an update.
Patch Management vs. Server Patching
When you think of the number of devices the average business deals with on a daily basis, it becomes clearer why this can be a big task. Laptops, smartphones, and desktop—each device is a portal to hackers seeking to gain entry into your systems.
Patch management is the process by which you make sure all of your devices are patched the same to ensure that there aren’t any gaps across the system. Server patching is a little more complicated; it involves patching systems with a tool to make sure that everything is in place to avoid crashes or failure in your main server.
Patch management can be carried out on an individual basis but it’s more common to use centralized management software, allowing your IT provision to set policies and rules that automatically apply patches. These can be worked around set business hours so that there is a minimal downtime and loss of productivity.
Aspects of Patch Management
Patch management should be a big priority for any stable business. Unpatched systems are very easily attacked by criminals seeking a way into corporate networks. New vulnerabilities are constantly evolving, and if patches are not applied in a timely manner, it’s the digital equivalent of leaving your back door wide open.
But patches must also be applied correctly. Good patch management is required in order to make a judgement call on what to install and when. Working with a Managed Service Provider can help you to be advised on what action is most suitable for your configuration, and work out the details of when it’s best to patch your network devices. Compatibility issues may arise, or the patching could use a touch-up.
Taking inventory, standardizing devices, testing systems, deployment, auditing, reporting, and developing policies are all part of constantly ensuring a protected and healthy system that allows a business to focus on its core mission. When your IT security is regularly reinforced with the proper support to keep you on top of any risks, you can have the peace of mind to focus on the other critical operations of your business.