The Importance of Software Updates and Patches

Patch management can help your business improve security, decrease downtime, and demonstrate compliance. 

Cybercrime shows no signs of slowing down in 2020. A recent report from Bromium and McGuire estimated that cybercrime yielded more than $1.5 trillion in stolen profits in 2018 alone. Experts predict that these numbers will exceed $6 trillion by the end of this calendar year.

With individual data breaches averaging nearly $4 million per attack and with threat actors targeting more enterprises than ever before, companies across all verticals need to be shoring up their defenses. Luckily, there are a number of ways enterprises can keep themselves secure — one of the best ways is to develop continual patch management practices.

According to a recent survey, 80 percent of companies who suffered a data breach or a failed audit could have prevented it by having a better patch management system in place. What’s more, over a fifth of all high-risk vulnerabilities found on enterprise networks are caused by unpatched software. The average time it takes an organization to close these discovered vulnerabilities is often over two months.

The solution for these problems is clear: keep software updated and perform regular patch management. Of course, this is easier said than done. We’ll use this blog to help you develop a better understanding of what patch management is, why it’s important, and how you can implement new practices at your business.

What Is Patch Management?

All software has bugs. Whether these flaws exist because of an inherent design in the code or an issue with implementation, faulty code exists in the systems we rely on every day. The purpose of patch management is to find these errors and resolve them before they lead to failures or vulnerabilities.

Patch management is an IT process that CIOs use to acquire, test, and install code changes and software updates on existing applications and services. This also enables organizations to keep legacy systems updated as new technologies and capabilities become available.

Unfortunately, many companies do not regularly patch their systems. A large number of organizations have understaffed IT teams and are missing the requisite skill sets that make it possible to patch large systems. Even for companies that do have employees dedicated to patch management, software updates are complicated, and there’s a very real risk that a failed patch update can result in costly network downtime — or worse, an application or software with irreversible damage.

The Benefits of Patching

  • Strengthened Security

As outlined above, one of the primary — and most obvious — benefits of patch management is improved security. Patches can be an excellent way to defend against costly data breaches by ensuring that your network addresses its vulnerabilities.

  • Increased Productivity

Outdated software isn’t just a security risk — it can also cause significant network downtime. Not only is this a disturbance to business, but it also puts additional strain on (often minimal) IT resources. In total, network downtime costs businesses an average of $5,600 an hour.

Sadly, one of the leading causes of network downtime is the failure to patch. Considering that just a single patch can boost network uptime and keep your business operating, it’s worth it for businesses to begin developing a patching strategy today.

  • Demonstrated Compliance

As long as security risks continue to affect businesses, security regulations will continue to be enforced by industry authorities. Particularly in sectors that deal with sensitive data like government, healthcare, and education, new compliance guidelines are constantly being generated. Failure to comply with standards can result in costly fees — patch management is key to remaining in line with new regulations.

Patch With A Partner 

There’s a popular IT saying that goes, “if you need to do it more than once, just automate it.” This directly applies to patch management. For many organizations, patch management software is a necessary tool to help ensure systems are both highly performant and secure. But this software is expensive and can be complicated to roll out on big networks. To ensure you purchase the right solution — and have the adequate expertise to install the solution properly — it’s advisable for CIOs to find a reliable IT partner. Look no further than Turn-key Technologies Inc. (TTI).

With nearly thirty years of managed service experience, the award-winning engineers at TTI are prepared to help your organization implement the right patch management solution for you. We’ll support your IT teams wherever there may be skill gaps and work with you to create new strategies so nothing falls through the cracks.

By Tony Ridzyowski

January 21, 2020

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