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Today, More Than Ever, Smart Security & IT Management Calls for Automation – Patching is No Exception!

Patch Management Smart Automation

With the current reality of COVID-19, a security professional has never worn as many hats as today: Application security, vulnerability management, and cloud security are just a few of the components required for a proper security stance. Plus, it has become impossible for teams to keep up with an ever-changing landscape. Because of these factors, organizations are increasingly looking to automation to help keep them in the fight.

Automation allows companies to address security issues faster and more efficiently than what mere mortals could possibly handle. It allows organizations to put complex security issues like vulnerability management on smart autopilot while addressing concerns that require more manual operations. Many organizations are already leveraging automation for common, routine tasks such as provisioning new systems, employee onboarding, application deployments, and more. 

So why can’t you apply that same automation mindset to patch management? Answer: You can! Patch management lends itself well to automation, given it is usually a routine task with a clear pattern. But why should security patch management be a priority in the first place?

Why Should Patch Management Be Automated?

More than 60% of small businesses are hacked every year, a very concerning number. Patches are meant to keep systems updated against the latest vulnerabilities, and that is why patch management is a vital component for keeping your business secure.

Flexera’s 2018 Vulnerability Report revealed that out of the reported vulnerabilities in 2017, 86% had a patch available when they became public. The same report also shows that zero-day vulnerabilities, meaning vulnerabilities exploited by hackers before they became publicly known, are rare, accounting for a mere 14 out of 19,954 attacks.

This is clear proof that patch management is an essential part of effective security and can resolve most security problems. Ignoring this fact and neglecting patch management can put businesses and their clients at risk. 

How Patching Affects Other Areas 

Patch management is needed to keep your company secure. It’s also required for your organization to remain compliant with the laws regarding cybersecurity. This extends to operational compliance, governance, and overall vulnerability remediation. In cases where companies fail to patch known vulnerabilities, they become liable for the damages caused.

Exploits such as Equifax have also brought up the discussion of pursuing even stricter rules when it comes to enforcing companies to keep their systems secure and their data protected. And that’s a good thing if we want to have a secure online environment for all.

Why Organizations Fail to Patch

It’s obvious that patching is critical and can save companies a lot of money. And yet, many organizations still fail to patch. According to research, one in four companies in the world is breached due to an unpatched vulnerability.

So why do so few companies manage to keep their patching up to date? Here below we discuss the most common reasons. 

Well, Patching is Complex

Keeping your systems updated can be a hassle with all the different applications involved.

Microsoft has a system to periodically inform users of available patches, called “Patch Tuesday,” a system that also allows for easy installation of the patch. But companies could be using hundreds of applications on their systems that are not from Microsoft, and very few other vendors have a systematic approach for notifying users about updates and making them easy to deploy.

Today, Linux has emerged as the infrastructure of choice for many organizations, and with different flavors of the open-source packages, there is no single process to patch those environments, nor a single vendor that can provide them.

Furthermore, many organizations simply do not know that there are available patches. And even when you find out about recent patches, it can be hard to determine which ones are critical. 

Unknown System Apps

You can’t always rely on inventories, as they can be outdated or incomplete. Admin rights can then be misused, exposing company systems to unauthorized access and allowing hackers to install harmful applications on them. Companies might also have legacy IT systems that are outdated and simply forgotten about, leaving a backdoor for cybercriminals to interfere.

Time and Effort Required

Even though installing patches quickly on systems can keep the company safe from threats, it takes time and resources to do it right. Performing patches manually can also leave room for errors and delays–not great for profitability.

This is why some companies fail to patch for weeks or even months, leaving their systems vulnerable to attacks. Your company has to commit itself to the time and effort required for patching on a consistent basis. 

Fear of Application owners

Patching oftentimes requires systems to reboot, which affects downtime. For critical applications, there’s fear that an application may not even come back online after the reboot. This thought alone is enough to keep companies from trying to deploy patches for fear that something will break.

When you install a new update, the application may also cease to work or can make other applications fail. This brings a new array of problems that CIOs and CISOs are trying to avoid.

Lack of Experienced Personnel 

Patching different systems takes specialized personnel with patching experience–employees that some companies simply don’t have. Aside from the cost of hiring them, it’s also simply difficult to find individuals with such expertise.

All of the above reasons add up. Some companies simply prefer to adopt the mentality of “If I watch the systems, nothing will happen,” a mindset that leaves their business exposed to cyberattacks, putting them at high risk. 

How Automation Can Help 

Automation takes the burden out of patching and takes your organization’s security to the next level. Imagine having a tool that can scan your systems for available patches and safely install them without you having to lift a finger, other than to approve the patch process according to the organizational policy. Once the patch is installed, this tool would confirm that the patch is installed and that the vulnerability is remediated.

IT organizations need to rely on tools to take the drudgery and monotony out of vulnerability management. Here below are the advantages of having an automated patching system. 

Reduced Organizational Risk and Errors

Your company is kept secure by having the latest patches installed on your system. Your customers’ data will be safe, and the risk of having to pay for liability damages is removed. You can sleep well at night knowing that your security is in good hands. Automation reduces friction and ensures manual handshakes are eliminated from the process.

Better Operational Efficiency and Governance

Having one tool that can automatically take care of all of your patching needs means that you don’t have to hire different people with different skill sets to take care of this. This is even more important at times when people need to work remotely and still take care of business.  

An automated patching solution handles all the systems and applications in your company and is much more efficient than having to go through each one manually, checking for patches. Furthermore, having a single governed and automated solution ensures that top management (CIO, CISO, etc.) receives real-time information on vulnerability remediation progress and now monitors the complete operational compliance of the organization in a single pane-on-glass dashboard. 

Optimized Cost Efficiency

Your organization’s cost-efficiency increases because you don’t need to hire personnel to do patching for you. Effective automatic patching also reduces time wasted on errors and other problems that can shut down operations. 

All in all, having a tool that takes care of patching and keeps your systems secure is the next step in cybersecurity.

JetPatch: The Tool for Security Hassles

JetPatch created an automated patching tool because we understood the difficulty and effort involved in manual patch management. 

JetPatch is a cloud patch-governance platform that uses machine learning technology to effectively install patches, keep your systems safe, and reduce downtime. It works with your existing vulnerability scanners and allows centralized control and automation.

Being an automated cloud-based solution for patching, our tool is always up-to-date and provides a more secure environment. Plus, all applications are checked at the same time, and you can easily manage everything from a single dashboard.

With JetPatch, you don’t have to worry about patch management anymore, nor about the struggles that come with it. 

Conclusion 

Patch management is an important element for keeping your systems secure and ensuring that your company isn’t exposed to vulnerabilities. When done manually, keeping your systems patched takes a lot of time and resources and is prone to errors and downtime.

An automated tool like JetPatch takes much of the burden off of an organization when it comes to monitoring and updating systems with the latest patches. It also reduces operational cost and the risk of error.

Shai Toren
Shai Toren
Shai is CEO and co-founder of JetPatch. Former GM EMEA at Intigua, Shai is a proven leader with over 20 years of executive management and technology experience.
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