What is Patch Management and why do I need it?
Posted 24th November 2020
Patch management is the method that software providers use to ensure that their software is up to date. With any software that is released, there will always be regular patch updates. That’s because vulnerabilities are always going to be discovered after a programme or operating system has been released. As we’ve written about in previous blogs, cybercriminals work hard to try to infiltrate systems, so when they do, a patch has to be created and distributed to close off that vulnerability.
If you imagine a dam holding back a lot of water, a patch is the regular maintenance that stops a leak. Failing to maintain the dam could cause it to fail and flood an area and, in a similar way, failing to update patches on your devices, could open a path for a cyberattack and system downtime.
This is why we always advise our clients to ensure that their patches are up-to-date and that they use best practices for patch management. One of the simplest ways of doing this is by regularly rebooting your devices. Yes, we know, we’re an IT service provider telling you to turn it off and back on again, but regular reboots can ensure that patches are updated. Even if you are using a Managed Service Provider, reboots are still an essential part of best practice.
Why is it so important to keep your patches up-to-date?
Firstly, maintaining up-to-date patches significantly reduces the risk of a cyberattack and improves the security of your IT. This reduces the risk of system downtime. Connected to this, patch management keeps all of your operating systems and applications running smoothly and efficiently, making it less likely that you will need to replace them. Think of it as increasing the lifespan of the products. Additionally, patch management is necessary if your business is looking for accreditation for certain compliance standards such as Cyber Essentials.
If you would like assistance in developing best practices in patch management or would like a system audit to check that all of your patches are up-to-date and that none are missing, drop us an email or give us a call.