Cloud Patching Best Practices

Over the past several years, enterprises and smaller businesses alike have been migrating to cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Azure to take advantage of the lower costs, ease of use, and scalability offered by cloud services. Gartner estimates that worldwide public cloud spending will reach $258 billion in 2020, growing 19% to $307 billion by 2021. Many businesses now operate with a hybrid model that utilizes both cloud and on-premises servers while some go one step further with a cloud-only approach. Given the growing rate of cloud adoption, it’s become increasingly important to be able to effectively update and secure infrastructure residing in the cloud as well as on-prem.

As the transition to cloud continues to gain steam, the conversation around effective and efficient methods for patching in the cloud has become more prevalent. Some may hold the misconception that cloud infrastructure provides a halo of security around all hosted services and applications, but in reality, cloud providers such as AWS actually share the responsibility with their end users. AWS is designed to be as secure as possible, but the security of virtual machines and applications running on AWS remain the responsibility of individual companies [For example, Automox recently received SOC 2 Type 2 certification of our platform which affirms our commitment to keep customer data secure.] While cloud instances require the same level of patching as on-premises servers, users may be unaware of cloud patching best practices, and cloud services themselves may not issue patches on a regular schedule.

Top 3 Best Practices for Cloud Patch Management

To effectively patch your cloud-based infrastructure and maintain compliance and security across your organization, you should follow these best practices.

Regularly scan for vulnerabilities and missing patches.

Regularly search for patches pertaining to cloud services your organization uses. These can include cloud servers and other applications such as cloud-based email providers and file storage systems. While companies such as Microsoft release patches with a set cadence, patches from cloud providers are often not released on a regular schedule, and may even require immediate rebooting when released. Patches should be checked for and applied continuously to minimize the risk of vulnerability exploitation.

Use a single solution for patching across hybrid environments.

Often companies use several cloud providers and may retain on-prem servers. These servers can run different operating systems and applications that need to be patched in order to maintain compliance and security. Manually handling patching across providers is an extremely time consuming task, and many automated patch management solutions do not effectively patch hybrid environments. To stay up-to-date on patching, use a single solution like Automox, which can work with any combination of cloud providers. Automox uses a lightweight cloud-native agent that is easily installed on every endpoint and automatically checks for and applies patches as they are released.

Keep an up-to-date inventory of assets.

As previously highlighted, more and more endpoints are either located in the cloud or using cloud services to access data. IT departments require visibility across their environment in order to accurately assess their security posture and risk level. Using a cross-platform, cloud-native solution to manage patching needs results in a single pane of glass. The ability to see all of your servers and workstations in one dashboard reduces the time spent assessing patch status, improves your security position, and enables accurate reporting to executives and stakeholders.

About Automox Automated Patch Management

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes the aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-native and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, macOS, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-native management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

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