What is Patch Management? How Does it Work? Best Practices

Patch management is the process of identifying, deploying, and verifying software updates to protect against vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities are security flaws in software that can be exploited by attackers to gain unauthorised access to systems or data. Patches are software updates that fix vulnerabilities. Patch management is an essential part of any cybersecurity strategy. By keeping software up to date, organisations can significantly reduce their risk of being attacked.
How does patch management work?
The patch management process typically involves the following steps:
Identifying vulnerabilities: Organisations need to identify which software they are using and whether there are any known vulnerabilities. This information can be found in vulnerability databases such as the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database.
Deploying patches: Once vulnerabilities have been identified, patches need to be deployed to affected systems. This can be done manually or through a patch management solution.
Verifying patches: Once patches have been deployed, it is important to verify that they have been installed correctly and that they have fixed the vulnerabilities. This can be done by scanning systems for vulnerabilities or by using a patch management solution that provides reporting capabilities.
Best practices for patch management
There are a number of best practices that organisations can follow to improve their patch management process:
Create a patch management policy: The first step is to create a patch management policy that defines the organisation’s goals for patch management, the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, and the procedures that will be used to manage patches.
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Use a patch management solution: A patch management solution can help to automate the patch management process and make it easier to track the status of patches.
Prioritise patches: Not all patches are created equal. Some patches are more critical than others, so it is important to prioritise patches based on their severity.
Deploy patches quickly: Once patches are available, they should be deployed as quickly as possible to minimise the risk of an attack.
Test patches before deployment: It is important to test patches before deploying them to production systems to make sure that they do not cause any unexpected problems.
Monitor patch compliance: It is important to monitor patch compliance to make sure that all systems are up to date with the latest patches.
Patch management is an essential part of any cybersecurity strategy. By following the best practices outlined in this blog post, organisations can significantly reduce their risk of being attacked.

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