Patch Management

Why should you care?

The concept of patch management is really rather simple; working to ensure that all the operating systems and software in use across an infrastructure are kept fully updated and as a result, are as secure and bug-free as possible.

Unfortunately, for many companies, patch management begins and ends with the automatic Windows Update (if at all). Not only does this leave company’s systems vulnerable, it allows hackers another way in via the many out-of-date, third-party software installations on employee’s computers. In addition to that, do you know what other ‘extras’ your employees install?

Anyone who doesn’t live under a rock will know that some of the more high-profile vulnerabilities in recent years have been related to third-party software such as Flash or Adobe Reader - nothing to do with Windows at all. Organisations who fail to take patch-management seriously often rely on users to update these programs when they are prompted. Many users, who don’t understand the implications, will simply ignore these prompts – month after month.

Although ignoring patches - or deploying them too slowly - can introduce vulnerabilities that all IT departments wish to avoid, it is not unheard of for the installation of a patch to cause unpredictable knock-on effects and operational problems. However, the impact of failing to patch systems in a timely manner can leave a company wide open to a range of security breaches and most likely extended system downtime – who can afford that?