Patching is your first line of defense against the rampant rise in frequency of ransomware attacks. Despite its importance, many IT teams and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) rely on manual patching processes that are inefficient and put your organization and clients at risk. Often, end users stall the application of a vital patch and leave a critical vulnerability open for exploitation. Outdated Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) solutions are ill-equipped to handle such instances and as such lowers successful patch deployment rate.
Due to all these factors, patching has become a perennial thorn in the side of IT professionals. This blog will discuss why patching is necessary, why it’s so hard to achieve high deployment and success rates and why 100% patch compliance is now within reach. Get ready to become a patching pro so you can spend less time in front of your screen and more time on the beach.
Why patching is important
Regularly patching applications and operating systems (OS) is a crucial security practice. It fixes vulnerabilities that cybercriminals would otherwise use as a backdoor to gain access to your or your clients’ business and compromise organizational integrity. Patch management also helps fix functional bugs so organizations can continue running their business without a hitch. Here are the four main advantages of patching.
Mitigating security risks
A common way for cybercriminals to gain access to organizations is by exploiting software, web applications and OS vulnerabilities.
In mid-2021, cybercriminals exploited an old, unpatched memory corruption vulnerability in Microsoft Office that allowed them to execute code remotely on vulnerable devices. This vulnerability was disclosed in 2017 and was found to be one of the most exploited by nation-state hackers.
Cybercriminals delight in exploiting software vulnerabilities to conduct corporate espionage, steal confidential data or launch devastating ransomware attacks. In 2021, 66% of mid-sized organizations’ cyberdefenses were tested by would-be ransomware attackers, with the average cost of a successful incident amounting to $1.4 million according to Cybersecurity Dive.
Therefore, promptly patching software vulnerabilities significantly reduces the risk of malicious outsiders gaining access to private company data or networks. Patch management ensures the safety and security of your company and your clients.
Leveraging new features
There’s more to patching than just security though. Software updates often improve the function and capabilities of applications. These updates fix existing trouble spots or introduce new features that help make applications more valuable and end users more productive. You’re leaving money on the table if you subscribe to a software but don’t apply the latest update. For an MSP, it means lost efficiency and therefore profit, while for an SMB, it means wasting your hard-fought budget.
More system uptime
As IT processes become increasingly integrated, a glitch in one application can disrupt an entire integration workflow. Timely patching ensures that applications continue to work without a hitch, leading to more system uptime. As a result, productivity increases and revenue goes up.
Avoiding non-compliance penalties
Another key reason to apply patches is to help maintain regulatory or insurance compliance. Several compliance standards and most IT insurance policies require software to be updated regularly. Failure to stay in compliance can lead to audits, fines and even denial of insurance claims in the case of a breach.
Why 100% patch compliance is hard
Patching is misleadingly simple to talk about but quite complex to implement. The biggest roadblock to 100% patch compliance is the end users, who often block a patch from being applied to prevent disruption to their workday. Often, these interruptions cause applications to fail on day one.
The manual patching method gives you a slim chance of identifying and installing all the patches you need. It is simpler and more efficient to automate all steps in the patch process. The asset inventory process should be easy to repeat regularly, so automating it helps ensure that every new device and piece of software is quickly discovered and patched. Your RMM should gather all required patches and install them based on the specified policies and priorities. To avoid software conflicts, you may want to test the patch before deploying, which should also be automated through acceptance testing and the ability to roll back.
Businesses and IT service providers that still use traditional remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions often grapple with subpar automated patching features and lack modern capabilities like offline patching. The key to 100% patch compliance is an advanced RMM solution that will replace the limitations of manual patching with automation capabilities.
Why 100% patch compliance is now within reach
You can efficiently address the difficulties associated with patch management by automating the entire process using Kaseya VSA.
The solution manages patches for Windows, macOS and Linux platforms, detects and remediates vulnerabilities, and monitors and maintains patch compliance with ease. VSA also automates the scheduling of patches by time, computer, group or user-defined collections of computers. You get ready-to-deploy pretested patches, which minimizes the burden of packaging and testing patches.
Are you worried about systems that are not in the inventory? The deep discovery feature of VSA patch management module will let you identify unmanaged machines and patch them too.
Are patches not being applied by end users? You can take advantage of the sleep-proof patching feature, which wakes a computer up in the middle of the night, patches it and turns it off again. Additionally, you can see patch history and review and override patches.
What about third-party patches? We’ve got that covered as well. You can keep your environment completely secure by utilizing VSA’s catalog of 250 third-party software patching licenses.
VSA’s scalable, secure and highly configurable policy-driven approach is location-independent and bandwidth-friendly. It helps ensure all machines comply with patching policies and are secured against cyberattacks. By leveraging all these features in VSA, you can achieve 98%+ patch compliance. The automated patch management workflows will protect your organization behind the scenes while freeing up your time for “higher-value” activities like going to the beach.
To get your hands on a word-class patching setup, request your demo today.