Reduce Security Risk With Automated Third-Party Patching

Clipboard with Time To Update on it, and alarm clock

It’s been more than a week since Zoom Video Communications’ significant security flaws became the talk of the town. The cybersecurity attack echoed another third-party application attack when nearly 7.5 million Adobe Creative Cloud user records were exposed in a data breach in 2013. While Zoom is a SaaS application, there are vulnerabilities in the Windows and macOS clients that run on the user’s computer.

Microsoft does a good job of providing automatic updates to Windows but, of course, it doesn’t include updates for other companies’ applications. This leaves companies to fend for themselves when it comes to updating these so-called third-party applications, web browsers and security solutions, like antivirus, anti-malware and more.

According to an article on DarkReading, “Eight out of the 10 most exploited vulnerabilities in 2019, in fact, impacted Microsoft products. The other two—including the most exploited flaw—involved Adobe Flash Player, the previous top attacker favorite, according to an analysis by Recorded Future.”

The article goes on to say, “Four of the remaining eight vulnerabilities in Recorded Future’s top 10 most exploited list impacted Internet Explorer. One of them—CVE-2018-8174—a remote code execution flaw in the Windows VBScript engine, was the second-most abused flaw this year [2019]—and the most exploited issue in 2018.”

Almost all businesses use third-party applications for some of their business processes. And of course, everyone uses one or more browsers to access all of the SaaS applications we use in business today. Failing to patch these third-party apps and browsers in a timely manner can put your company at risk.

However, despite knowing the consequences, businesses aren’t doing enough to keep third-party applications up to date. As per the 2019 Kaseya IT Operations Survey, only 42 percent of businesses monitored third-party software and applied critical patches for these within 30 days.

Challenges With Third-Party Application Patching

Third-party patching can be challenging for many businesses as they could be using many applications, and manually patching the sheer volume of applications can a herculean task for IT admins.

Software vendors do not have the same software release cycles and hence may not release updates at the same time. But, interestingly enough, several major vendors are starting to release updates on the same day as Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday. The most recent Patch Tuesday occurred on April 14, 2020, when vendors including Oracle, Adobe, SAP and others planned to release their software patches along with Microsoft.

This presents a major challenge for IT and security teams since now, there will be many patches to apply to their systems all at once. Sometimes patches need to be applied in a particular order and sometimes they need to be reviewed, approved or overridden by IT staff.

Also, patches need to be tested before they are widely deployed. The impact of incorrectly patched applications and failed updates can be a real problem for businesses.

Hassle-Free Deployment With Automated Patching

Third-party application patching is important to keep your organization secure. Automate the process of patching to ensure that all patches are deployed on time and according to your company’s security policies. Implement an endpoint management solution that automates patching of your OS and third-party apps and performs the following functions:

  • Scan regularly for updates: Your endpoint management solution should deploy updates as soon as they are released to reduce the chances of vulnerabilities being exploited by hackers.
  • Gain visibility into vulnerabilities and patch status: Gain visibility into vulnerabilities affecting your IT environment and the patch status of every endpoint.
  • Get automatic notifications for failed updates: Troubleshooting of failed patch installs is necessary to keep endpoints secure.
  • Patching for remote, off-network endpoints: With most workers working remotely, it’s critical to use an endpoint management solution that can patch off-network endpoints.

Automated third-party patching improves your cybersecurity posture and relieves the burden on your IT team that comes with manually performing software updates. In an age when cyberattacks have become as routine as your morning errands, it’s necessary to elevate your patching practices and proactively keep your business more secure.

To learn more about an endpoint management solution that can alleviate your patching stress, check out the Kaseya VSA Software Management Module Feature Sheet.

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