Patching is very important from the standpoint of security, because it’s often the unpatched operating system and software that come under attack and are compromised. That said, patching needs to be taken up as a discipline in itself, and maximizing security through patching falls under the purview of patch management.
Here are the steps involved in ensuring that your patch management is effective:
- Stay up-to-date: It’s very important for an administrator to stay informed about the latest industry developments and security news related to patches. Patching is not as simple as keeping the auto-update feature on, but rather being on the lookout for creative, possibly third-party, solutions.
- Follow a schedule: Patching works best when you do it regularly, because it keeps your system’s defenses up against the latest vulnerabilities discovered. Make this a scheduled activity and inform other stakeholders to work out a calendar that doesn’t conflict with other activities.
- Don’t forget to test: All the effort put into patching would be worth nothing if these don’t get tested. Untested patches can result in vulnerabilities still being unaddressed, as well as performance issues with the software.
- Deploy redundant systems: Redundancy saves time and effort by patching only what is needed. This saves you incredible amount of resources when a large number of machines are to be patched.
- Automate tasks: Most of what you are going to be doing are repetitive tasks that are best automated. This works best when you also have third-party patches, as good tools can make the whole process easy.
These guidelines will make sure that your patch management strategy is on the right lines and that security is up-to-date.