Archive for March 17th, 2011

Increased dependence on patches in a corporate environment

Installing patches is a simple task, not requiring any special skills or knowledge to execute proper updates. For the home user, entrusting the installation of patches to the operating system is the most common practice and is how the manufacturer of the software intends that a computer be updated when used for personal use. In the business world, patches take on a different level of critical importance. There are networks in a larger company, filled with computers that can be a breeding ground for certain types of viral infection and corporate networks are also prime candidates for hacker attacks. These facts make the need for patches to be reliably and quickly installed to all company machines a highly critical task for the IT personnel charged with that responsibility.

Allowing computers, even a few, to fall behind on their security patches exposes those computers to great risk, especially if those computers are connected to or exposed to the internet in any way. Patches correct code holes in the software on a computer that can allow attacks to execute programs on a target computer. The programs executed are not ones that are accessories to the operating system, but rather programs that are downloaded to the computer and will give the hacker up to complete control over your system, possibly even logging each key stroke and other extremely sensitive information input to and stored on the computer.

This underscores the absolute need for IT professionals to control the distribution of patches to the computers in their system and this requires the use of a patches solution above and beyond the inherent update service on the computer. The options for another solution to push patches should be well researched and a method for deploying patches should be established that can provide detailed reporting on each computer updated, as well as alerting an administrator when a deployment of patches to a machine fails.

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