No two companies are the same. Specific cybersecurity risks and corresponding information technology (IT) management approaches vary widely from business to business, even within the same industry and location. For the same reason, no two patch management software models are the same either. Every company needs a solution tailored to its exact needs and means.
Best Patch Management Software for Enterprise
Keeping your company safe is about more than installing controls and assessing their efficacy at quarterly or yearly intervals. Instead, you must continuously scan for and correct any patches that become apparent. This is why enterprise patch management is essential.
This guide will break down the best individual software pieces and qualities to look for in professional solutions or open-source patch management solutions across two primary areas of focus:
- Patch management for general cybersecurity across you and your partner institutions
- Patch monitoring for elements of legally (or otherwise) required regulatory frameworks
By the end of this blog, you’ll understand all you need to know about enterprise patch management.
Infrastructure and Software Patch Management
Patch management can take on many different shapes or forms and cover a wide range of practices and approaches, depending on the nature of your company. At a basic level, patch management extends your broader cybersecurity architecture, a built-in reflective capacity to monitor all systems, settings, and users. You need to ensure that all controls and behaviors you’ve put in place are up to date and functioning precisely as they should.
Patch management may fall under the responsibilities of a particular administrator or IT team. However, in some cases, individual patch management software or a suite of programs bundled together by an expert group (like RSI Security) can provide an effective patch monitoring solution.
Threat and Vulnerability Scanning and Management
The first approach to enterprise patch management is as an extension of threat and vulnerability management. A robust vulnerability management (or mitigation) program will monitor all physical and digital resources along with users and user behaviors to detect risks. This means establishing a baseline of sound operations against which to compare irregularities.
It also requires establishing threat intelligence based on comparable systems in the same industry or peer companies with whom you share clients or locations. This narrows down information from broader, nationwide lists like the common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) and tailors it to the specific kinds of flaws or gaps most likely to occur for your company.
Once your patch management software is installed and mobilized with a custom, updated set of information, it will search for, analyze, and begin working to eliminate identified vulnerabilities.
Third-Party Patch Management and Risk Mitigation
Accounting for all the risks facing a company involves much more than monitoring just its systems and personnel. Patch management can also aid in third-party risk management (TPRM or 3PRM). This applies to the network of stakeholders you work with, such as:
- Partnered institutions – Companies you work most closely with in advisory or other roles and for which individual employees or teams might share sensitive information.
- Vendors and suppliers – Companies that supply critical services or supplies, either physical or digital, and who may enjoy security clearances or data access privileges.
- Clients and customers – Companies and private individuals you sell services and products to, whose user accounts may be sites of data breaches or cyber-attack.
The more third-parties with access and information privileges, the greater your chances for patches to appear. Enterprise patch management needs to account for these third-party risk vectors as carefully as it does your first-party vulnerabilities.
Patch Management for Regulatory Compliance
Another way to conceive effective enterprise patch management is to extend a robust compliance implementation and advisory program. For example, companies that straddle various industries often have to navigate multiple regulatory compliance frameworks to provide goods and services to consumers. It’s also often needed to trade with and conduct business with other companies. In other cases, there are market and competitive reasons to establish compliance.
Installing all needed controls and training staff to requisite levels of cybersecurity awareness may be enough to pass a single audit or gain licensure in the short term. But to continue doing business in the same sector(s), you’ll need to monitor for any gaps that open up across your implementation and find solutions for them before your next assessment or certification.
Patch Monitoring Related to Payment Methods (PCI)
Patch management for compliance typically involves training monitors on individual controls. Some of the most widely applicable regulatory guidelines, across all industries, are those of the Security Standards Council (SSC) of the Payment Card Industry. Depending on your company’s relationship to payment methods, it may need to follow one (or more) of the Security Standards:
- The Data Security Standard (DSS), for all companies that process credit card payments
- The Payment Application DSS (PA-DSS), for developers of app-based paying platforms
- The PIN Transaction Security (PTS), for manufacturers of payment-accepting hardware
These and other PCI regulatory guidelines are available from the SSC document library. A dedicated PCI compliance advisory solution is essential to put their controls into practice. But to ensure compliance over the long haul, updating practices, training, and overall patch management are equally critical to avoiding fines and serving customers.
Patch Monitoring for the Healthcare Industry (HIPAA)
Patch management is also critical for businesses in and adjacent to the healthcare industry. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) states that covered entities, including providers, administrators, clearinghouses, and their business associates, need to follow four HIPAA rules. The two that relate most closely to patch management break down as follows:
- Privacy Rule – Covered entities must ensure that sensitive medical and payment records are only used or disclosed to their subjects or in a select set of scenarios.
- Security Rule – Covered entities must also ensure this data’s confidentiality, integrity, and availability through administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.
Patch management facilitates long-term HIPAA compliance with these prescriptive rules and their safeguards for protected health information (PHI). But it can also scan for gaps in HIPAA compliant protocols for Breach Notification, staving off punishments per the Enforcement Rule.
Patch Monitoring for DoD Contractors (NIST/CMMC)
Finally, the last example of an optimized patch monitoring tool applies to companies in the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) sector who work with the Department of Defense (DoD). Per Defense Federal Acquisition Register Supplement (DFARS), Clause 252.204-7012, these companies must take extraordinary measures to protect “controlled unclassified information” (CUI) and other data critical to the safety of all Americans. Patches may relate to two frameworks:
- SP 800-171 – The NIST’s Special Publication 800-171 (SP 800-171) comprises 110 Security Requirements, divided into Basic and Derived Requirements across 14 Families.
- CMMC – The Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) builds on an additional three Security Domains (17 total) and 61 Practices (171 total) across five Maturity Levels.
A robust patch management can help companies identify flaws in implementing these frameworks and map between the two, offering an all-in-one approach to DoD compliance advisory.
How to Find the Best Patch Management Software
One thing we haven’t touched on yet is how any of these patch management tools or characteristics can be combined to best suit your company’s needs. Suppose your network of third-party strategic partners includes businesses in healthcare and DIB sectors, for example. In that case, you may choose a TPRM approach focusing on HIPAA and DoD compliance. Contact RSI Security today to find the perfect software patch management for you!