In the course of doing business everyone has their own specific responsibilities. One overarching responsibility that all employees need to have today is a keen eye for detail. The health of a business depends on it. A staff’s failure to properly shoulder their load of security can have an immensely negative result for both the employee and the company. Today, we’re going to explain that when your organization gets breached by hackers, that fault is largely found in the mirror.
These days companies are investing more than ever in their cybersecurity and network security awareness programs. This investment is the result of the increasing number of phishing and other social engineering attacks that businesses from all over the world are dealing with. These efforts, while necessary in today’s climate, have seen marginal success, however. One survey found that around 60 percent of organizations that took part had been breached at some point over the previous two years. That’s three-in-every-five organizations having dealt with at least one instance of unauthorized access.
Where do companies go wrong? After all, they spend a lot of time and resources trying to keep unwanted entities off of their network. A disconnect between IT and management can have something to do with it. In fact, one-third of the organizations surveyed suggested that CIOs (and the like) had no idea what software their company was running. That could be a big problem starting at the top.
There are endless examples where developers have released a patch for their software, but they weren’t rolled out to the systems on a network, leaving a vulnerability that was eventually taken advantage off. WannaCry and NotPetya attacks from 2017-2018 were largely the result of companies not immediately patching what seemed like a minor software vulnerability. These organizations realized pretty quickly that there really are no minor software vulnerabilities.
There are a few things you can do to ensure that there are no arbitrary holes in your network.
Comprehensive patch management starts like many other forms of the business, with a plan. A patch management policy is effectively the “no software left behind” program for your business. By outlining processes and who is responsible for carrying them out, everyone will know what to do, when it needs to be done, and how to go about it.
A strong patch management platform will include identifying the right patches, implementing a formal patch schedule, deploying the patches, and making sure that the software that you’ve patched, is patched sufficiently.
There are several ways you can go about testing the patches that you make. To properly do this you need to first create a test environment; or, one that is a simulation of your company’s production environment. The easiest and most cost-effective way to do this is to use a virtual environment. It doesn’t have to be a spitting image of your work environment, but it should have some of the same component software on there. The goal, of course, is to replicate your production environment to test your software patches.
After you are confident that your patch is satisfactory, you could just roll it out to all of the titles getting the patch. Start with a limited amount of production devices, test again, and then if all functions as expected roll it out company wide.
While properly patching your solutions is serious business, you need to go about it in a collected way. Shooting from the hip (or in other words, just deploying the patch and forgetting it) could potentially create some problems with your other components or solutions. Instead, test new patches as much as you are able, and if you don’t have the resources to do that, roll out the patch gradually to help catch and minimize the damage done by any issues.
For smaller patches, automation can help. In fact, automation can assist with the efficacy of many business IT processes, and your patch management is no exception. Some patch management tools offer built-in automation capabilities that allow you to cover more ground, faster.
The developers of the software you use and the hackers trying to find vulnerabilities are in a race, and once they patch their software, you need to use those patches quickly. They need to secure the software they have created against a litany of threats that come from all angles; and, they need to do it right now as to not leave their company exposed.
Proper patch management is just one facet of a sufficient IT security strategy. At MERIT Solutions, we can help you identify and deploy any other security needs your company may have. We can find tools that are designed to keep your data protected against threats. Have concerns about your security? Reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.