Archive for October, 2010

Keys to a good patch management process

Having a grouping of computers brings forth a certain level of responsibility. With computers that are used for professional purposes, there is an assumption that the data contained on those systems is critical to the business, in both up time for active production and for the storage of corporate data that can contain sensitive, even secret company information. This data must be protected by security policies that take into account the most likely venues for outside parties to use to get inside the computers and gain access to the data stored within. A security policy will cover specifications on how each computer is built, regulations on how openings are handles in the firewall configuration, mandatory use on antivirus software.

Focus will also be placed on a no exceptions patch management process. The more solid the patch management process, the less likely a machine will be operating outdated software and be left with a gaping and unacceptable vulnerability. The patch management process in use should clearly lay out your intended update frequency and method for obtaining software patches. This may entail a requirement for end users to seek out and install patches by themselves as a manual process, or the use of an automated method. It would be expected that an automated patch management process would exist in most cases, as any for of manual maintenance is a practical guarantee to be overlook, as people simply are more likely to forget to execute a patch management process than a scheduled computer task is. A patch management process depends on regular execution to update a computer, as security holes are discovered every day and the critical ones are fixed on monthly basis for most applications. Slip behind a couple months and your patch management process has basically failed. Regular, consistent updates are key to a great patch management process.

Patch Management Best Practices for Offices

When it comes to implementing patch management best practices for offices and large computer networks, automation is key. Most operating systems today provide automatic notification of new patches and updates as soon as they become available, and some enterprises have tried simply encouraging their users to download these items onto their workstations as soon as they can. However, human folly and error in this matter can wreak havoc on your system if the stellar patch management best practices of automation and timeliness are not implemented.

To implement the patch management best practices of automation, begin with a search engine query. There are plenty of programs out there in cyberspace that will automatically implement your patch management best practices across workstations, and it is rather easy to find them. Be sure to include the full name and version of your operating system in your search engine query, as well as the phrase automatic patch management software reviews. Pay especially close attention to the reviews that come from reputable software and tech sites, and choose the software that works best with your system and your budget.

See if your program of choice is suited to implementing the patch management best practices of automation and the consequent minimization of human error as soon as you have downloaded it. If all goes well, your network should be that much more secure, and one more chore should be off your mind for good. Your employees will thank you as well, since timely updates are a large component of keeping a given system running well and smoothly for a very long time to come. Keeping things simple, straightforward, and automatic is the best way to run as many aspects of a precise system like a computer as possible, and protects these investments for quite some time. Good luck!

Cyber Security Management and You

When it comes to cyber security management, you already know that you cannot afford to take this subject lightly. Basic security management products like antivirus, anti spyware, and firewall protection suites are de rigeur on any modern PC, but there are other cyber security management measures you should strongly consider implementing as well, particularly if you happen to be in charge of a computer network.

For example, one of the best ways to maintain a secure and up to date network is to ensure that any new patches and updates for an operating system are downloaded and installed immediately after release. Patch management is an integral part of security management, and it is unfortunately all too easy for many people to overlook. Downloading and installing an automatic patch security management tool is a wonderful way to minimize the opportunity for human error, and there are many such programs out there in cyberspace to help you do just that.

Security management also means testing your cyber defenses every once in a while. For example, consider running a firewall and security test every few months or so, in order to detect any weaknesses in your system that need to be patched or fixed as soon as possible. For this particular aspect of security management, you will want to be extra careful regarding the outfit you choose to test your cyber defenses. Remember, you have to give these people a large amount of personal information on your PC for them to do their jobs, so you want to ensure that anyone you retain is a honest and reliable person or company! When it boils down to all aspects of cyber security management though, the best way to protect yourself overall is to automate all aspects of your duties as much as possible. Good luck!

The cure for security gaps: Patches

Patches are wonderful things. They are little software packages that repair holes in software. These holes are unintended openings in the code of a piece of software that can allow unwanted intrusions into your system by outside persons. Any computer that faces the internet is at risk to some degree, even if the computer never visits questionable web sites. Although, most problems with malicious code can be traced to an email or a web site.

Patches are intended to curtail the possibility of these holes presenting risk. Almost any software can be at risk for attack, and most mainstream applications are updated by patches on a regular basis. The patches are the result of engineers inspecting suspected bad or vulnerable code for the exact cause of the potential inlet of outside influence. The code is then redesigned to eliminate the opening, and then packaged as a downloadable and executable application that imparts a slight change to the program in question, closing the dangerous openings. These changes are generally transparent to the function of the program itself, taking place in the background on the operational parts of the application and are not visible otherwise.

Most patches are identified by an agent service that makes daily checks for them. When new patches become available, the program will notify you and give you the opportunity to decide whether to download the updates and patches, and whether to install them. The distinction between the two choices is, the download only brings the file or files down to your computer, but it does not put them in place in case you are currently using the application in question. The install option puts the patches in place and will generally require the program to restart once the cycle is complete. Once the patches are in place, the program is updated and safe from the vulnerabilities addressed in a specific patch release.

Following patch management best practices

For a patch management best practices policy, there are a few thoughts to consider as you begin to script the verbiage of your policy. Of key importance, above all else, the the need to know whether or not the computers on your network have been receiving and installing security patches. That way, if they have not, the machine can be corrected or disconnected from the network. The patch management best practices policy should clearly state that a patch management system should be in place that provides this level of reporting on your computers. An application server needs to be put in place that uses agent based software that is pushed to and runs regularly on machines connected to its network. That software then reports statistics back to the server that is used to satisfy patch management best practices.

That server will then analyze the data of all computers and offer you charts or even notifications that indicate which machines are out of compliance with patch management best practices. Those machines are then able to be brought up to the latest patch levels to maximize security. The ability to make the determination of patch levels at a glance is almost irreplaceable when it comes to patch management best practices. Without such a convention in place, it is anyones guess as to which machines have or have not been properly updated. No patch management best practices policy should allow for machines that update themselves directly from the internet. There is no verification trail when this takes place, and computers can and will quickly fall out of compliance. Those computers are then security risks and openings for any number of viruses or potential intrusions of your network. The point of following patch management best practices is to prevent those sort of things from happening in the first place, so patch management best practices should be carefully examine all aspects of patch deployment and determine the best way to handle things in your environment.

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