Sometimes, certain changes in a computer program affect the supporting data designed to ameliorate, modify, or improve said computer program. This set of changes is called a patch. Patching involves the modification of security vulnerabilities and other bugs. Many different types of programming bugs that create errors with system implementation may require specific bug fixing that is successfully resolved by patching.
Patches fix problems, but poorly-designed patches can sometimes allow outside problems like malware to get into system networks. In some delicate cases, updates may disable a device or intentionally damage the functionality by removing components that have no license with the update provider. Patches may be temporary or permanent until patched again.
Patching makes possible the modification of compiled and machine language programs, especially when the source code is unavailable. It’s required that the person inventing the patch has a broad understanding of the inner workings of the object code. For minor changes to software, it’s easier and more economical to distribute patches to users rather than redistributing a newly recompiled or reassembled program.
Wondering how patch availability can help your company attain cyber safety? Learn about the top benefits of a patch availability report with this complete guide. Learn more now.
Management policies are written plans used to drive company procedures. Patch management is a part of lifecycle management. The process of strategically deciding what patches should be applied to which systems at a specified time, is called Patch Management.
Patch management helps acquire, test, and install multiple patches on existing applications and software tools on a computer. It also ensures that systems stay updated on existing patches and also decides the appropriate patches.
As part of internal efforts to fix problems with different versions of software programs, analyzing existing software programs, and detecting any potential lack of security features or upgrades, it is imperative that patch management is done by software companies. Security is the major concern of patches, even though there are some patches that are for the specific functionality of programs.
There are two patch management types, and it’s important to know them and understand how each one works.
The Two Patch Management Types
Knowing and understanding the two patch management types available will help you make the select the patch management type that best suits your cybersecurity needs.
Below are the two patch management types:
1. Source-code Patches
This involves the circulation of patches in the form of source-code modifications. In this case, the patches usually consist of textual differences. These differences exist between two source code files, called diffs. These types of patches are normally from open-source software projects. When it comes to this, developers expect that users compile the new or changed files themselves.
2. Binary Patches
Some patches are typically distributed as what causes a computer to perform some indicated tasks according to encoded instructions. During execution, these files load a program into memory that manages the installation of the patch code into the target program(s) on disk.
What is a Patch Availability Report?
The patch availability report generates a detailed list of every patch for every device that meets the selected criteria. The patch name, affected products, and classification are displayed to assist in deciding what action needs to be taken on the patch. The publish date, approval status, and approval dates also provide the details required to investigate unexpected results.
The patch availability report provides the information you need to track updates and identify issues in your customer environments within your patch life cycle because software patches usually contain new features or functionality and extend support to additional platforms.
Benefits of Patch Availability Reports
Using patch availability reports in your organization will protect you against cyber-threats and ensure your valuable company data are safe. Still in doubt about using patch availability reports?
Below are the benefits of patch availability reports.
The first benefit of a patch availability report is report status— a very important feature in every enterprise network management product. IT administrators need a broader view of the overall patch status in order to be aware of current deployment progress, and issues that need addressing, many of which will be indicated in the patch availability report.
Report status enables developers to assess current trends and also see projections. This will also help to see and show the value that you provide as part of your patch cycle. You can customize the patch status report by choosing a specific patch installation status, patch category and/or patch approval status if they are not yet included in the current version. It is, therefore, an important part and merit of patch availability reports.
Security is the most obvious benefit offered by patch availability report, as software vendors most often release patches to fix security vulnerabilities which are being exploited by malicious software or people intending to damage the IT systems or networks.
Applying these security patches at the right time will significantly reduce security breaches of various kinds. Of course, the vulnerabilities are exposed and reported in the patch availability report, and can always be assessed and referenced in order to fix deficiencies in subsequent patch versions.
Another major benefit of patch management is increased productivity. Often, patches come with performance improvements that help employees get rid of boost productivity. A better way this can be achieved is by going through the patch availability reports to know the areas where improvements can come to services rendered by applications.
An efficient system of patch availability reports which deploys patches network-wide helps to improve the rate of productivity in applications. In the majority of cases, the worst effect of malware is not the stealing of a company’s sensitive data, but the downtime that badly affects productivity. The effect varies from congested networks or slowed down systems because of malware activity, to breakdowns of a company’s critical applications, as well as a compromise of important systems. A patch availability report will conveniently highlight the lows of a current patch and raise awareness to ensure it’s fixed for further productions.
Timely security patching is a serious cross-sector issue. There are no simple solutions when applying or assessing patches on an Industrial Control System (ICU). The first decisive step in resolving these issues is to encourage open communications between IT, IT security, process engineering, production, and senior management.
Unknown to you, several imperfect software applications may be running on your organization’s networks, which means many patches from multiple sources get released. Therefore, deploying patches when it’s most convenient can be disastrous, because leaving those security flaws and hazardous bugs unpatched exposes your networks to vulnerabilities. Considering the complexity and stress involved in managing patches? The alternative of getting hit with a security breach is infinitely worse.
Patch management is a necessary but laborious and time-intensive process that can consume significant technical resources. Let RSI Security monitor the hundreds of third-party software and hardware vendor websites for released patches and provide documentation and installation support for your business.
RSI Security’s Patch Availability Service provides a comprehensive report of all needed hardware, software, and firmware security patches to support your company’s compliance responsibilities as required by the appropriate regulatory bodies.