Patch Management – what is it and why you need it?

Posted on November 19, 2018 by Yvonne

If patch management involved training an adorable puppy named patch users might treat it with the significance it deserves. Unfortunately patch management doesn’t involve any cute animals but that doesn’t mean we can ignore it. Patch management should still be part of your overall security strategy and it’s definitely something we all need to be talking about more.

What is patch management?

Patch management is the act of finding, testing and installing software patches.

It sounds simple enough but how many people automatically click ‘ignore’ when their computer prompts them to update? Even if you’re not one of those people, you likely work with someone like that and any vulnerability on a network is everyone’s problem. Which is why we need to make sure everyone understands how and why patch management is important.

One of the first tips for staying safe online is to keep your software updated, but that easy step is often harder to implement than anticipated. Having to restart computers in the middle of a work day can be disruptive so updates often end up being delayed or ignored entirely. This leaves systems vulnerable and any attacks that result are going to be a lot more inconvenient than having to restart your computer.

Why you need it?

Software is made by people and people make mistakes. The only way to avoid that risk entirely would be to throw away your computer, which is not really an option for most of us. The next best thing is to make sure that when someone finds a fix for those inevitable mistakes you get it installed as soon as possible.

Think of it like changing the tires on your car. Sure, your car will still run with bald tires but the longer you go without changing them, the greater risk you have of being in an accident. Getting your tires checked, and/or changed can be annoying but we all agree it’s necessary.  Patch management is the same.

Luckily there are a number of steps that can be taken to improve the process – including installing Heimdal’s Thor Foresight which automatically patches security critical software – but really the key is culture. The more people that understand how risky it is to ignore updates the easier it will be to get them to make the effort and install those patches.

So get everyone involved in the conversation and then ask us how SecureSoft can help your patch management process.