Regularly Patch Thy Systems – Say it with Us

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shutterstock_600740837Hello, and welcome back to the Managed Services Blog! Today, we address a very relevant topic in cybersecurity and current events: Patch Management. The devastating effects of the recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks were maximized by unpatched machines that allowed the software to exploit vulnerabilities, like the Windows EternalBlue exploit. In this post, we delve into how patch management is a critical part of the modern business, and how to go about it the right way.

Before getting into any details about patching, a small overview might be needed. A patch is simply software that is added to existing software to add extra functionality, plug security holes, or steady unstable elements in the code. Patching is common in spheres like the video game industry, especially on first-person shooters. In cybersecurity, patching is used to update old software & systems, and fix certain outstanding issues in the system/software per release.

So, it seems that it’s a very good idea to continuously patch systems so that they stay up-to-date, what with all these cyber-attacks going on and what not. The problem, though, stems from the fact that so many companies DON’T patch their systems when vendors like Microsoft and Cisco publish new updates. Most simply procrastinate with these updates, leaving them for a later date. This is what led to the WannaCry and Petya attacks doing their substantial damage.

So, what’s the right way to go about this? The first step would be to get the right alerts on new patches. This is done through a management or advisory system, like our own MSA service. By using machine learning, a good advisory system can filter out only the latest and most important updates from vendors, according to what’s needed by the business. Step two would be to categorize which patches need to be added to which machine/application. Again, machine learning helps IT managers and engineers with this. After that, all that’s left is to apply the patches, test compatibility with other resident programs, and everything is fine! Right?

*Cricket chirping*

Well, these patches have to be installed in accordance to proper policies and guidelines set by management, and there has to be regular assessments and audits into the performance of the patches after installation, to see if anything in the system is reacting adversely to the patches.

With that, that will be the end of this week’s edition of the Managed Services blog. To learn more about our MSA service, contact us by clicking on the link. Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time on the blog. Take care, and stay #CybersafeUAE!

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