There are a few rules associated with patch management which everyone implementing these tools should know to make the most of them. Rules which form the core of the patch management process, without which the whole process—no matter however meticulously planned—will eventually fail to safeguard your network against various security threats out there.
Here is a cheat sheet listing some of those patch management related rules which can go a long way in patching your network efficiently.
Your patch management will be successful only if…
1. You Know Your Network Well: First and foremost, you should know what your network contains, only then will you be able to address the problems. For this, you have to catalog or inventory your network’s devices using various asset discovery tools which are available in the market.
By doing so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone. That is, not only will you become aware of the defects of your network’s devices, but will also get a ‘rough estimate of how long it might take to fix or patch various computers in your network. This information will go a long way when it comes to critical patches which need to be implemented quickly.
2. You Realize Change Is The Only Constant: Nothing in this world remains constant. The same applies to computers as well. Taking into account the various security threats hitting the IT world, one can hardly expect a network infrastructure to remain the same over time. So enterprises have to understand this universal truth and should implement patch management tools which can seamlessly integrate as well as control such patching-related changes in your environment.
3. You Understand Every Device Has Different Requirements: There is no such thing as ‘one-patch-fits-all’ after the application of which you can rest in peace thinking your network will be safe forever. Ensuring your network contains the same devices and the same operating systems is easier said than done. In other words, practically impossible.
This is something you should bear in mind and select a patch management tool which can operate effectively in an IT environment which contains diverse devices.
4. You Understand Time Is Of The Essence: Security patches should be implemented as soon as they are released in the market. WannaCry ransomware served as the perfect example of what can happen if security patches are not implemented in a timely fashion.
Again this is easier said than done, because security patches are essentially changes to your environment. Incorporating such changes into your environment can be a tough task unless you have the right patch management tool in your hands.
5. Your Patch Management Tool Contains Automation Capabilities: Automation is key to successful patch management. Because patching involves many aspects, implementing or monitoring all of them manually is not humanly possible. Therefore while selecting your patch management tool, make sure they contain automation capabilities.
6. You Keep Things Simple: No matter how complex the technology you are dealing with, you should always remember this: keeping things simple is the key to getting your job done efficiently. This might seem like an unnecessary piece of advice, but most often than not we fail because we end up complicating things.
Therefore remember that patching, at the end of the day, is about keeping your systems up-to-date so that they remain secure against various evolving security threats and go about implementing your patch management strategy and tools accordingly.
Hope the information provided here proves useful to you when it comes to deploying your patch management strategy.