Cybercriminals aren’t only targeting large companies like Equifax. In fact, small and medium businesses, known by hackers and cybercriminals to have a smaller budget for cyber security, are often at more of a risk for attack – more than half of all United States businesses have reported at least a single cyber security incident occurring in the past year. Cybercrime being a common occurrence doesn’t mean that you as a small to medium business owner can’t work with your managed IT services provider to minimize your exposure. One key way of doing this is to establish an extensive patch management strategy to ensure all software is up-to-date at all times. Let’s dig into why this is important and what you do to make it a key piece of your overall cyberdefense.
Only as Secure as Your Last Patch
Software is a living product, one that is constantly being iterated upon and improved by teams of software designers. While improvements can be to functionality and features, updates are oftentimes necessary to close a vulnerability in a program in order to prevent third parties from accessing proprietary or personal data managed by the software.
Historically, these updates have been provided to users in the form of a “patch,” or a piece of code that can be spliced into the original in order to improve it, but required users to manually download and apply them. Flash forward to present day and much of the software in use across the business landscape is licensed under an arrangement known as Software as a Service, or SaaS. Software as a Service means that rather than buying a physical medium to download to your computers, the software is cloud-based, accessed through web-interfaces, and kept maintained and patched through an automated process. However, SaaS providers can sometimes post that a patch is available, but it will be up to users to accept the software change and start using the new patched version throughout the organization
Patch Management for Your Protection
Whether the onus of data security management lies with you through the manual patch management of your software lies with you or your business IT services provider, having a strategy in place to make sure all applications are properly patched and maintained across all in-use devices across your business is crucial, as it provides data security while protecting your business in several key ways.
Security Updates and Patches Exist for a Reason
While some software packages put out regular updates in order to enhance the user experience, patches are more often in response to a security event or the discovery of a vulnerability. The more comprehensive your patch management regimen is, the less likely you’ll be to miss a vital system update that closes a well known exploit hackers are actively searching for on the net.
Many industries have compliance requirements in place to ensure that client data is protected at all times to the best of your ability. This means that your software is up-to-date, patched, and operating in a way that sensitive user data is only accessible by those with a business need in your organization. Without a patch management strategy, you might miss a crucial update to a business application, leaving your organization vulnerable to liability.
Supports Remote Working Arrangements
With two-thirds of the global workforce working outside of the office at least one day a week, the growing prevalence of remote work increases your exposure to liability greatly. With a strong patch management regimen in place, you won’t have to worry about the numerous devices your employees are using in the field to remotely access your internal networks, as you’ll know that each and every device is as operating with all patches in place.
We Manage IT
Charlotte-based Apex Technologies has the industry savvy to know the importance of constructing a managed IT Security services program around key data security management practices such as a robust approach to patch management. These data security solutions allow us to protect the integrity of our clients’ data systems and assist them in remaining compliant relative to industry standards.