Ransomware is a growing issue that costs companies billions of dollars annually. Hackers create encrypted malware that enters your networks, hardware or software and blocks your access until ransom is paid. Usually, you have 24-48 hours to comply. Stopping ransomware requires an aggressive and proactive IT strategy that includes proper patching.
Proper patching involves tracking, testing and documenting your patch updates within a comprehensive inventory of your networks, devices, software and operating systems. Once a patch is applied, it requires testing and monitoring to ensure it accomplishes its intended goal. Why is this process so important? We’ll uncover how patching works and why it can affect your security and productivity negatively if not performed regularly within a comprehensive strategy.
What is a Software Patch?
Patching is the term for regular software updates and fixes. When you receive a notification on your phone or computer that a software upgrade is available, that’s a patch.
A patch at its simplest is a piece of code that the software company develops to add new features, fix bugs or improve security in their product. By adding software updates and patches, you ideally upgrade your software to the newest and best version. But what if it isn’t the best? You need to test that each patch is functioning the way you want.
The Need for Patch Management Software
Protecting your business from ransomware attacks should include a comprehensive patch management program. Having a program that tests and tracks your patches allows you to regularly:
- Optimize your software and IT systems
- Fix bugs
- Keep your networks secure
- Comply with security regulations
- Repair vulnerabilities
Without performing regular scheduled patching, you leave yourself open to the increasing likelihood of malware and ransomware attacks.
How to Implement a Software Patching Program
To make sure that you’re adding and tracking the right patches to keep your IT systems healthy and productive, follow these six software patching best practices:
- Have a cohesive management policy. Make sure your team has a concise plan on how to keep your IT systems updated with good cyber hygiene.
- Scan regularly. Scan your networks and devices to stay on top of what areas are vulnerable and which patches need to be added.
- Test your patches. Managing patches isn’t merely upgrading to the latest version. It means tracking and testing patches once they’ve been implemented to ensure that they are working correctly. Problems can unexpectedly arise from software patches that don’t configure or perform their intended resolution.
- Apply patches laterally. Once a patch has been fully vetted, apply it across your entire system. Don’t let sections of your network lapse behind because they weren’t properly updated.
- Keep detailed reports. A record of your patching history is invaluable when troubleshooting issues later.
- Have a recovery plan. Always have a backup. If you encounter a glitch because of patching, have a plan in place for how to recover. It could save you countless hours and dollars.
The Advantage of Proactive IT Services for Your Patching
Patching is a complex and evolving process that demands constant attention. It’s essentially a full-time job. Using an experienced IT service to carefully manage your patches ensures that a patching expert will always:
- Track all your devices.
- Properly manage your firewall.
- Schedule routine checks.
- Test patches.
- Review your patching report.
- Have a recovery plan.
An experienced IT services company like Thriveon will not only manage your patching program, but we’ll also proactively act to make sure that your company is ahead of any ransomware risk.
If you don’t have the inhouse resources for a 40hr/week patching program, consider the value of a full services IT company. While you could periodically outsource the work, you’d only succeed in resolving patch issues within a small window and without follow up testing. You still remain vulnerable.
Proactive Patch Management for Your Business
Effectively managing, testing and documenting software patches for your business takes time and resources away from your day-to-day operation. Trust this critical task to an IT provider who will proactively manage all your patch updates.
Thriveon will ensure you’re never vulnerable and that your productivity doesn’t suffer from compromised hardware or networks. Contact us today to learn more about how we manage your technology with holistic patching services.