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Patch Management and Your Network

If you are looking for the best way to secure a network of any type of computerized devices ranging from smartphones to PCs, proper patch management should always be an integral part of any cyber security plans. Updating and adding each new patch to each individual unit on the network as the patches in question become available is one of the best ways to avoid certain bugs and vulnerabilities that are sometimes part of life in the twenty first century. However, plenty of sensitive data often lurks on the hard drives and software networks of companies around the world, and both the data and the hardware investments themselves can be unwittingly destroyed or misused without the right patch management policies in place at any given time.

As implied above, the best patch management policy is to automatically apply any new patch to any individual workstation or unit as soon as possible. Plenty of programs exist in order to implement patch management best practices in such a way, so start your quest for a compatible such application as soon as possible. Incompatible software of any kind can cause system problems of its own, potentially mitigating the beneficial effects of any patch management software drastically. Always make sure that any patch management software you use is designed with the hardware and software found on your network in mind. This can save a lot of time and a lot of stress in the long run.

Once you find the best patch management software for your network, double check to make sure that each and every unit you are responsible for is fully equipped with a functioning automatic patch management program. When this is done, you should no longer have to spend any more time worrying about the condition of your network and its gadgets unduly.

Solidify your security patch management policy

Companies that do not effect any form of security patch management place themselves at risk every single day that any of the computers on their network are behind current patch levels. Unpatched computers are ticking time bombs, luck the only thing keeping them truly safe. Chances are there are already problems with the computers that are behind on their patches that have gone unnoticed, leaving these systems a risk for use. A computer without the latest security patches can be exploited by a number of viruses or worms, and even certain web sites might carry malicious code that takes advantage of security holes on a computer that has not bee updated by a security patch management process.

The concept of a security patch management is not based only on how patches are installed, but rather on the requirement that they be patched. The security patch management should be in writing and a legal policy within any corporate network. Alongside other security management bits and pieces, like virus scanners, the security patch management should be a requirement to follow. Users should clearly instructed that they are to do everything within their power to ensure that patches are installed by whatever means your security patch management utilizes. Often, the security patch management is enforced by software policies driven by the primary servers the end user machines log into.

These security patch management policies either restrict the ability of an end user to interfere with patch updates or their configuration settings, or push the patches to the computers completely from within an internal source for of the updates. This security patch management process caches updates as provided by the software manufacturer on in internal server, then deploys them to workstations by a push process that cannot be avoided or aborted. This is probably the most certain method of deploying updated software.

What is a patch and what does it mean to you?

What is a patch and what does it mean to you? It does not matter if you are a home computer user or you are running your computer at work, a patch performs the same function. A patch is a fix for something that was not designed properly during the production of the software you use, or it is a fix for an aspect of the software that allows unintentional access to outside parties. Patch development is done when enough incidents involving a particular code flaw are reported in sufficient quantity to grab the attention of the software manufacturer. They analyze the problem, identify the cause and decide if it warrants the construction of a patch that will rewrite the code of the program, usually the operating system of a computer, to repair the flaw or close the hole.

The way a patch is disbursed to all computers that are affected by the update varies. If you are using your home computer and you have your options set to the default, your computer will likely download the patch and notify you once it is ready to install it. You can then choose to either select or deselect the patch for installation. Once complete, you usually have to restart your computer for the new software to take effect. In the business world, the process is usually handled differently. As a patch is a critical piece of the security process in a corporate situation, the patches are generally enforced by a policy and pushed down to the computers without offering the system users the chance to decline the installation. It may still prompt the user to reboot, versus forcing it to happen, so that the user can save open documents prior to the system restarting. Regardless of how they get onto your computer, a patches are critically important to keeping your computer safe for use.

Security patch management policy enforcement

Any time you hear a story of a business experiencing a widespread virus outbreak, you have to wonder if they have an adequate security patch management policy in effect, and if they are adhering to it. A virus scanner is a first line defense to viral infections, but it certainly is not infallible. There are viruses that are capable of disabling antivirus software, and until new virus definition files are distributed, there is a window of opportunity for a virus to take advantage of the opening and spread across a network. These viruses also take advantage of unfixed security holes on the machines that they invade. All OS software has vulnerabilities, and as they are determined, they are closed off to attack by security patches that are released periodically by the operating system manufacturer.

A security patch management policy is a process in place to ensure that security patches are delivered to workstations and servers as a requirement for their use. A security patch management policy generally states that any computer in use on the network must be updated to the latest patch level that is available. The security patch management procedure can vary in its execution. In some situations, the security patch management policy may simply require each user to have their computer configured to poll for new updates and install them as they become available.

In other cases, usually in larger enterprises, there is security patch management system in place that forces the machines to accept updates from either an internal server or a push and requires no user intervention. These security patch management system can be configured to override the user and prevent them from disabling the installation of updates. This is the most secure, certain way of enforcing security patch management as it avoids a scenario where some computers may not be receiving updates. A security patch management policy has to be enforced to maintain its effectiveness.

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