As companies incorporate more connected devices in their networks, they struggle to stay on top of security patches

Outdated software has become a major issue for organizations. In the past 12 months, many organizations have seen millions of dollars in lost revenue because of this commonly overlooked cybersecurity issue.

Sophisticated threat actors have targeted unpatched systems to get easy backdoor entrance into organizations’ networks. Some of the largest data breaches in recent months have are a result of this type of attack. Such attacks, like WannaCry in May 2017, and just a month later when threat actors used the same attack methods with Petya, have brought organizations major financial and reputation troubles. In September, largely known credit-monitoring firm Equifax was breached, shedding some light on how hard it is for organizations to stay on top of patches.

Why is this a big deal?

Properly patching can take organizations months because it is a difficult and tedious task – and most of the time something that organizations tend to overlook the importance of. Patching requires a certain level of testing to ensure that an available security patch won’t create complications for other systems. Many organizations don’t have the staff to filter through numerous patches that lay on various servers and operations systems, let alone the thorough and necessary testing that is required.

The patching problem has only gotten worse with the number of connected devices on networks. Manufacturers are adding connected thermostats and appliances to their processes, most offices have connected cameras, and the list goes on. The internet of things (IoT) is causing the patching problem to get worse because of the sheer number of devices that are utilized at the workplace. If a manufacturer has thousands of connected appliances, how will an IT team manage the necessary patches.

Some companies can afford to take their servers and computers offline for a short period of time, but others cannot. Think of healthcare systems, manufacturers, and powerplants; these organizations rely on their devices constantly running, which leads them little to no choice but to run outdated software.

To keep up with the vast number of security patches, it is recommended that companies invest in monitoring systems. This brings us to another dilemma; the financial one. Some monitoring systems can require an expensive capital upfront for hardware, computers, and more. With an already bogged down IT department and limited budget, making room for a monitoring system with dedicated staff is unattainable for many organizations.

A security patch management solution

While patch management might not be the most interesting topic, it is a necessary task that can defer a lot of risk within your systems. A patch management solution, like Magna5’s, can help organizations manage and deploy security patches in a timely manner with proper testing. The 24/7/365 Operations Center continually monitors systems from a monitoring portal that has patch management incorporated into their views. Engineers can instantly see the status of devices, and easily identify out-of-date machines that require patching, including emergency patching and updates. Not only does this allow organizations to realign their focus to revenue generating IT projects, it provides peace of mind that networks are safe from potential exploits.

Having trouble managing your company wide security patches? Contact us today for more information.