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Patch Management

Patch Challenges: Learn to Identify Patches and Updates Accurately

By December 21, 2015June 22nd, 2022No Comments
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In 2003 Microsoft introduced what is commonly known as Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of each month (sometimes the fourth) when the company releases the newest updates or malware database refreshes for its Windows operating system and software applications. These patches update individual files—specific to enabling Windows and other Microsoft software to work properly—determined by Microsoft to have security issues or “bugs” that could carry the potential of a malicious and undetectable attack to a computer or an entire system.

In order to reduce costs associated with patch deployment, Microsoft chose the day after Monday simply because the first day of the workweek presents enough challenges that demand attention. By waiting a day, it still gives IT administrators enough time to make any fixes before the weekend but allows them to focus on high-priority issues awaiting them Monday morning. Though patches are only sent out on Tuesday, if a critical fix arises it is sent out regardless of the day of the week.

Patches are not limited to Microsoft technologies alone. Today’s organizations use a myriad of applications from multiple vendors like Adobe, Java and Mozilla to fulfill their specific business needs and goals and, like Microsoft, they also release security updates and patches on a regular weekly or monthly basis. Although these patches are imperative considering the number of security breaches the world has witnessed in the past decade, by issuing them only once a month computers are still susceptible to other attacks between updates, and there are plenty of hackers happy to take advantage of those vulnerabilities. That’s why the day after Patch Tuesday is sometimes referred to as Exploit Wednesday.

While patches usually fix the issues for which they are intended, they can also become the cause of a new problem, particularly if the patches are administered by the uninitiated. In other words, someone with little or no experience can do more harm than good. And with new vulnerabilities being discovered nearly every day, it’s critical for a company to ensure that software and business applications are safe and running smoothly. With a sound, cloud-based strategy for patching and update management, your organization can minimizes risks and reduce costs in addition to other key benefits.

Getting Started: Patch I.D.

Getting safely started in the patch management environment can be daunting, particularly for companies that have an IT department of one. Challenges inherently arise and when they do, it is important to understand how to identify, prioritize, install and verify patches and updates accurately and efficiently. In order to build a patching strategy, it is important to consider the three general categories of updates when prioritizing issues: critical, important, and optional. Critical updates typically involve security, privacy and reliability, while important updates address non-critical problems to help enhance the computing experience. Optional updates can include updates to drivers, for example, or new software, and they often enhance computing as well.

Requirements for a Successful Patching Strategy

An efficient and cost-effective patch management strategy is crucial to the success of any business, considering the risks from a mobile workforce and the increasing number of employees working remotely in today’s expanding global market. But it’s one thing to deploy patches as they are released and another to confidently update all of your company devices—at any time from any location—to ensure a safe environment every day of the year.

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