When talking about cybersecurity, numerous elements make up protecting one’s data while online. One of those elements is patch management.
What is patch management really, though, and why is it a crucial part of cybersecurity?
We’re going to dive deeper into understanding patch management, and why you need to ensure that your security software contains it.
What is Patch Management?
At its core, patch management is how software and applications keep themselves up to date to ensure your device’s safety. Without these updates, you end up with holes in your security, which makes your device (and data), vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Why is Patch Management Important?
Cybercriminals continually find ways to exploit programs and devices, no matter how secure they may be. If these devices and programs you use don’t keep themselves updated, those growing vulnerabilities could quickly be detrimental to your data if you end up with a virus or an attack.
Basically, by using or having a program that uses patch management, it detects vulnerabilities before someone else does. It then updates the system to close off those vulnerabilities, making it harder for someone other than yourself to access your device and data.
What Makes a Good Patch Management Program?
Many key elements go into a reliable patch management program. Some of these elements include:
- Having a library that contains all software versions.
- Reviews and risk evaluations.
- Frequent backups and storage.
- Patch testing and simulation.
- Response plan to an incidence.
- Disaster recovery plan.
The Two Major Aspects of Patch Management
Patch management includes two essential parts: asset management and change management.
Asset management is a full review of everything with your device. It looks through your entire system and connectivity. Without this review, you wouldn’t know where the vulnerabilities are on your device, and without knowing this, you wouldn’t be able to patch them.
The other aspect of patch management is change management. This is the fixing process after determining any vulnerabilities. The goal is to fix the hole in security with minimal disruptions.
Going through a software update typically causes disturbances. So, you would usually start with a small test patch first to ensure that it works. After that, then the patch would go to the rest of the system.
Part of Your Overall Cybersecurity
Patch management is one of many elements in cybersecurity. Being able to detect holes in your security system and automatically updating and fixing them is essential to online security. However, that is only part of your overall protection.
Your cybersecurity should also include other elements like application and information security (protecting the applications you use and subsequently your data), network security (preventing unauthorized users onto a secure network) and having a disaster recovery plan. Although you hope to never use it, it is best to be proactive for a possibility.
Protect yourself, your company, and all of your online activities as much as you can. Ensure that your security software uses a patch management system to keep all vulnerabilities at bay. The more you can do to be proactive, the less reactive you’ll need to be.