If you want to take a proactive stance against malicious cyber attacks and keep your business systems protected from hackers and cybercriminals, you must implement a solid Patch Management strategy.

Patch Management also helps you protect your data and keep confidentialities in check.

What is patching and why is it important?

Patch Management refers to the ongoing practice of keeping software on computers and network devices up to date, which then means your systems can resist low-level cyber-attacks.

Computer programs regularly release new "patches" which are designed to update, fix, or improve the program. This is great for the program to continuously improve, but when a new patch is released, attackers will quickly identify the underlying vulnerability in the application and release malware to exploit it. Delays in patch deployment of known vulnerabilities leave the door open to cyber criminals to exploit the vulnerability.

Simply by ensuring your software is regularly patched or updated, you can:

  • Ensure security vulnerabilities are identified and remediated quickly
  • Protect your software, operating system and business from a cyber attack
  • Enhance your organisation's security by quickly remediating software vulnerabilities that would otherwise put your people and processes at risk of attack.

Cyber Essentials reports that nearly 85% of the most common cyber-attacks could be prevented by implementing the fundamental security controls described in the Cyber Essentials framework. A recent Ponemon Institute survey highlighted the scale of the problem, revealing that almost 60% of breaches suffered by organisations were because of unpatched vulnerabilities.

So, you can see that an effective Patch Management strategy is essential for all businesses, small, large or in between because cybercriminals are increasingly taking advantage of errors in software updates.

What does Patch Management apply to?

Your Patch Management strategy should cover the full range of systems and applications you or your users will engage with.

So, this can include:

  • devices such as desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, mobile phones
  • web, email and application servers
  • firewalls
  • routers

A good Cyber Essentials Patch Management strategy will systematically look at all of these on a regular basis. And in fact, some further monitoring and health checks can be scheduled for after the patching window has concluded as well as compliance checks and incident reporting

Protect your end-users

To protect your organisation and all end-users, there are a few fundamentals that Cyber Essentials scheme have identified:

  • Software should be routinely licensed and supported
  • Software patches should be deployed within 14 days of an update being released in cases where the patch fixes a vulnerability that is labelled 'critical patches' or 'high risk patches' by the vendor
  • Applications should be removed from devices you no longer need them or they are no longer supported

At The Missing Link, we have a Patch Management as a Service that guarantees that critical security patches will be patched in 48 hours. Our team of experts also work collaboratively with technical teams to ensure a common language and to hold teams accountable.

We might deploy other strategies to strengthen your vulnerability management policy such as looking to minimise the number of employees using personal equipment, and we consider implementing multi-factor authentication for the VPN if necessary. We also conduct compliance and auditing checks and incident reporting to protect your endpoint.

Protect your business

Want to know more about the Cyber Essentials accreditation? Our team at The Missing Link can offer you the expertise and support needed to achieve Cyber Essentials certification or Cyber Essentials Plus certifications. 

For practical help with your certification and cyber security, please get in touch with our expert team at The Missing Link or for more information about Cyber Essentials such as Malware Protection, User Acess Control or Patch Management, click here.  

 

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Author

Taylor Cheetham

Campaign Manager