Know the components of an effective patch management program

July 29, 2020
Chris Munoz
Director of Portfolio Management, Cloud Practice

Minimizing data security threats and keeping operations safe is a demanding task that every enterprise grapples with. Systems need to be kept up to date and potential intrusions must be screened for proactively. However, effective vulnerability and patch management is not a one-time event. To truly cover all the angles of your operations, a thorough and ongoing process of consultation, assessment, preparation, deployment, and support is needed. The following are the crucial areas that a comprehensive patch management program should cover:

  • Mapping of current network topology.
  • Establishing a baseline of vulnerabilities.
  • Application of all outstanding patches.
  • Determining cadence of patch application.
  • Review of ongoing critical patch escalation processes.
  • In-depth quarterly reviews.
  • Continuous, ongoing assessment and monitoring.
  • Auditing and compliance analytics.

When properly planned and executed, this process provides critical insight into the potential risks inherent in your network, as well as the methods that can be used to mitigate this risk and compile empirical data to prove regulatory compliance.

Taking the right steps

With the above components in mind, enterprises concerned about the effectiveness of their patch management strategies should be sure to carefully exercise a series of best practices. These best practices begin with a full self-audit of an enterprise’s software environment and hardware inventory to better understand any existing vulnerabilities and what patches should be prioritized.

After your organization has an up-to-date picture of its entire software and hardware landscape, it can then effectively assign relative levels of risk to each program or access point. The higher the risk level assigned to an aspect of your network, the faster it should be addressed in your patch management strategy. Additionally, if multiple instances of redundant software has accumulated in your portfolio, these can be consolidated to mitigate the risk of exposure.

If your organization utilizes a third-party vendor for some of its software solutions, it’s crucial to involve this vendor in your patch management approach. Third-party software should be kept up-to-date alongside your proprietary software to ensure that no elements of your network environment fall behind. Lastly, these planned patches have the best chances for success when rigorously tested before being deployed. The unique characteristics of your hardware inventory, software environment, and business model mean that no patch can applied in the exact same way to any two networks.

The right approach and enough preparation can help any enterprise keep its systems updated and secure, but many organizations seek out managed service partners to ensure a smooth and comprehensive patch management process.

A managed, full-spectrum approach

CBTS is standing by to offer a thorough vulnerability assessment and patch management service backed by expert knowledge and wired into the entire range of your enterprise’s infrastructure. This service can assist you in identifying new and unexpected vectors through which your operations can be attacked, defining your highest-ranking vulnerabilities, evaluating your existing policies, reviewing compliance requirements, and more.

A managed vulnerability assessment and patch management program by CBTS covers every aspect of your network environment, from your endpoints to critical assets, equipment, and facilities. It also extends from the planning and deployment phases to an ongoing monitoring and auditing period, ensuring that your organization’s patch schedule is optimized for your specific needs.

Contact CBTS for more information on vulnerability assessment and patch management services.

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