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8 Tips for Better Patch Management

Data breaches are constantly in the news. But did you know almost 60% of breaches are due to poor patch management? Not keeping your systems properly updated and patched can lead to devastating downtime and risk to your reputation.

We get it keeping up with patches is difficult and time consuming when you think about all the servers and desktop workstations in your organization. We have a few tips that can help you significantly improve your patching program and keep your IT environment better secured.

  1. Know Your Environment: Without having a clear understanding of all assets under management, you cannot complete a successful patch management program or process. Scan your environment to make sure you have proper coverage.
  2. Plan, Plan, Plan: Patch management often devolves into an ad hoc process or a lack thereof. Even though it may be difficult, taking the steps to develop a solid plan, practicing consistently, and maturing the process is vital.
  3. Regular Validation of Patches: Be careful and make sure patches are deployed within an understanding of the potential negative consequences of a technical interaction. It’s important that you validate the patch won’t break any other functionality on your servers.
  4. Gained Leadership Buy-In: Make sure to gain leadership buy-in, especially for patching of business-critical applications and systems. This is one of the most important tips as you may be forced to leave systems unpatched due to the downtime risk if you do not have the approvals of leadership. Help your leadership team understand the positive benefits of patching as well as the negative consequences of not patching.
  5. Regular Patching: Ensuring that your systems have the appropriate patches to mitigate potential risks is important and keeping those up to date is key. Prioritize patching your critical systems based on the potential risk and the criticality of security vulnerabilities in the wild. Patches that are deemed critical from a security perspective should be deployed as often and as quickly as possible.
  6. Scan Every Day: Scan for antivirus and security software updates every day and patch them with priority. Functionality updates are important; however, security updates are even more so.
  7. Automation: Using a tool that can automate patches for Windows, Linux, and cross-platform can increase your efficiency and effectiveness around patching. It will also help with validation as well.
  8. Regular Reporting: Establish regular reporting. This will feedback into your plan and will help you focus on the right patches at the right time and with the right frequency.

We hope you found these patch management tips helpful. Better patch management is one of the easiest ways you can better protect your environment from unwanted intruders. Want to learn more about patch management? Contact a TPx Expert and see how Managed Endpoints can help improve the security of your patch management.

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