Given the countless cyber threats facing organizations these days, security has become one of the most pressing issues on the executive mind. Yet when we talk about cybersecurity, we rarely focus on security vulnerabilities and how patching those vulnerabilities is crucial for a cybersecurity program. So what is vulnerability patching, exactly? A vulnerability is a flaw that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access or to perform unauthorized actions on a computer system.
Patch management is the process of tracking security bug(s) and applying updates (code changes) on them in existing applications, software, or programs on a computer and other technologies to improve the functionality and security of already released programs installed in systems.
The objective of an organization when implementing cybersecurity controls is to eliminate risk, but this oftentimes involves settling for managing risk at an acceptable level. Each organization defines what that acceptable level is depending on several factors including the environment, the criticality of function, the asset type, etc. There are many methods and techniques that an organization can then use to manage this risk. One of the most commonly used methods is patching.
ESG research on cyber risk management, which involved 340 cybersecurity professionals, revealed that 40 percent felt tracking patch and vulnerability management over time was their biggest challenge.
Security researchers at Google have claimed that a quarter of all zero-day software exploits could have been avoided if more effort had been made by vendors when creating patches for vulnerabilities in their software.
Over the last few years, the idea of patching systems to correct flaws has graduated from an annoying business disruption to a top priority. With all of the notorious vulnerabilities that can wreak total havoc, the time it takes to patch becomes a minor inconvenience when weighed against both the technical challenges and possible regulatory penalties of not patching.
Many software developers tend to see patch management as another tedious security task that gets in the way of the development process. However, considering Forresters’s recent State of Application Security Report for 2020 predicted that application vulnerabilities will continue to be the most common external attack method, patch management is a critical part of the vulnerability management process that organizations can’t afford to neglect.
Patch management is the process of analyzing the systems within your network for missing updates. This process shines a spotlight on the vulnerable systems within your network, allowing you to apply the necessary patches to those systems. This ensures that any vulnerabilities or bugs present in the software gets fixed.