Patch management is critical to keeping your security controls up-to-date and protecting your organization against cybersecurity threats. You may be wondering: what are security patch updates, and how do they help optimize cyberdefense? Read on to learn how they work and why they matter.
What Are Security Patch Updates in Cybersecurity?
When most organizations first learn about security patching, they ask: what are security patch updates? In cybersecurity, these tools are critical sensitive data safeguards.
Below, we’ll dive into:
- A definition of security patches
- Why patches are crucial for any organization
- Best practices for managing security company patches
Security patching is an essential exercise for organizations looking to secure their digital assets, especially when guided by a managed security services provider (MSSP).
What is Security Patching?
A security patch is a software update that resolves an issue—security or otherwise—that impacts an organization’s assets. Security patches are typically provided by the companies that manufacture these assets.
Examples of software assets that you can secure with patches include:
- Operating systems (e.g., macOS, Windows)
- Web and email applications
- Firmware installed on devices (e.g., laptops, handheld devices)
So, what is patching in cyber security?
Patching involves deploying patches to assets across your digital environment. For patching to be successful, it must be managed using a reliable methodology.
In general, patch management involves:
- Identifying assets requiring patch updates
- Deploying patches on these assets
- Managing risks to these assets even after patches are deployed
Patch management ensures your organization swiftly deploys security patches before cybersecurity risks materialize into full-blown threats.
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The Importance of Security Patches
At a fundamental level, deploying security patches onto your critical digital assets protects them from various threats. However, some threats have a significantly higher impact on cybersecurity than others—and must be mitigated promptly upon detection.
Patching assets is crucial to safeguarding assets from novel variations of viruses and malware. Since these threats evolve frequently, your organization must remain adequately prepared to defend its assets.
Cybercriminals like to exploit existing vulnerabilities in software, especially when organizations have either not detected these vulnerabilities or hesitated to resolve them. By patching components of your cybersecurity infrastructure, you effectively reduce the chances of data breaches becoming successful.
Regulatory frameworks such as the PCI DSS require organizations that handle sensitive data to keep their assets patched at all times. As a requirement for regulatory compliance, security patching safeguards these organizations from cybersecurity threats that target specific data environments.
Patch management is also essential for compliance with frameworks like HIPAA and the CMMC, which protect sensitive categories of data.
Best Practices for Patch Management
For many organizations, patch management can seem challenging. Keeping track of each security patch as it is released is cumbersome, even for the most dedicated security team.
However, these best practices will help optimize patch management:
- Staying up-to-date – Most security company patches are released as soon as they are available to enable users to keep their assets secure. Dedicating time to track these patch releases will help you identify assets with vulnerabilities and patch them ahead of time.
- Coordinating patching – For patching to remain successful, all the stakeholders involved in patch management across your organization must understand their roles and responsibilities. In many instances, it helps to outsource patch management to an MSSP who can help coordinate the timing of patch deployment across stakeholders
- Implementing a patching policy – Without a policy for patch management, it will be challenging to streamline when, how, and to which assets patches are deployed. Ideally, a patching policy will ensure that patches are installed to the right assets upon release.
Sometimes, it helps to use patch management software to track all the necessary requirements for patching assets. The ideal patch management tools help streamline patching from start to finish, ensuring no assets remain unpatched—except when patch updates have not been released.
You may also be wondering which issue can arise from security updates and patches. In general, patching is a relatively simple process that enables organizations to safeguard their assets in the short and long term.
However, certain security patch companies may not fully test their patches prior to release, especially if the patch is in demand. Poorly tested patches may also have vulnerabilities that are challenging to identify immediately.
At the enterprise level, you can optimize security patching by working with an MSSP, who will guide your organization on the most effective strategies for deploying patches.
Learn More About Security Patching
Back to the crucial question: what are security patch updates? They are critical components of your IT infrastructure and will help you implement industry-standard safeguards, especially when optimized in partnership with an experienced MSSP like RSI Security.
To learn more about how patching works, contact RSI Security today!