Modern computer and network security is a cat-and-mouse game with network administrators, vendors and security researchers on one side and virus writers and hackers on the other. Each year, thousands of new computer and network vulnerabilities are found. As vulnerabilities are found, vendors and security researchers publish fixes which are then distributed to the public as patches.
Those network administrators who are able to patch vulnerabilities quickly make their systems less attractive to hackers while those who delay make themselves into targets. The results can go beyond computer chaos: in one case, pirates hacked an unpatched content management system at a shipping company so that they could target the most valuable ships for boarding and piracy.
Patch Management is critical to your network security. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team has identified 30 high risk vulnerabilities that, if left unpatched, make systems and networks into targets for hackers. Some of these vulnerabilities may allow a virus or hacker to take over a computer in your network, getting them past your firewall and into areas of your system with lower security standards than your network’s hardened outer shell.
It is critical that you employ effective patch management techniques to make sure that these vulnerabilities do not affect your network.
Patch management is not just the mechanical process of installing software; it includes inventory management as well. Proper management includes conducting an inventory of the systems on your network and standardizing operating systems and applications to limit the variety of patching systems that you must manage. If you need help with patch management, please contact us.