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Patching Known Vulnerabilities

By March 8, 2018 No Comments
Patching Known Vulnerabilities

Known vulnerabilities are one of the biggest threats to company networks today: They are the leading cause of data breaches, and studies have shown that those who are not up-to-date on patching are three times as likely to experience a breach. This is especially concerning when considering the high costs associated with data breaches, ranging from loss of revenue to remediation expenses to potential lawsuits.

Known vulnerabilities come from a variety of sources, as they are present in all operating systems and 3rd party applications. Those systems with high market share, including Windows, Linux, and Mac, in addition to software such as Adobe and Java, are especially at risk of attack, as exploits are quickly developed as soon as new vulnerabilities are discovered

The only way to fully protect your company from the exploitation of known vulnerabilities is to maintain 100% patched status, meaning all systems and applications are patched within hours of a patch release.

Over the past few years, the danger of failing to patch quickly has become clear, with high-profile data breaches including the Equifax hack and the fast-spreading ransomware WannaCry for which a patch had been available for two months. These attacks could have been prevented had companies applied necessary patches quickly, but unfortunately patching is often seen as a time-consuming and tedious task and not prioritized. This contributes to a long average time-to-patch, demonstrated by the fact it has been found 69% of endpoints run on outdated operating systems.

The difficulty of patching all systems in a timely manner has increased as the number of endpoints has grown. Today, companies have to patch both on-premise servers and workstations in addition to cloud servers and remote devices. In addition, operating systems have become more diverse in recent years. While many companies used to operate with a Windows-only infrastructure, Linux and Mac devices are now common.

The same is true of 3rd party applications which have proliferated as software-as-a-service applications become the norm. Employees can often install their own applications on laptops and phones that are used for business, and these applications each have a large number of vulnerabilities themselves.

The days of manually patching are over. You simply can’t keep up with patch releases for multiple operating systems and 3rd party software applications. In the past, companies have turned to vendor-provided solutions such as WSUS or legacy, on-premise patch management tools to improve their patching process. However, these systems are ineffective at applying patches across multiple operating systems, cloud-hybrid environments, and 3rd party applications. Most are built for a single system, and require complex scripting and troubleshooting for patches to be fully applied.

Cloud based patch automation solves all of these challenges. Modern solutions like Automox can help you become patch compliant in minutes instead of days or weeks. Once the lightweight agent is deployed across the infrastructure, you have full inventory visibility including the patch status of every server and workstation. You can see every endpoint in a single dashboard. Whether the device is on-premise or remote, as long as it’s connected to the internet, you can see it.

And you can manage Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and 3rd party software together for the first time. With Automox, you have a true system of record for patching. And you can deploy patches automatically or incorporate the automation into your existing patch testing workflow.

Instead of adding to your workload, Automox has been shown to reduce time spent patching by 90% and allow companies to become fully patched within hours of patch release. To try Automox for yourself and reduce the number of vulnerabilities present in your infrastructure, sign up for our 15-day free trial.

Holly Hamann

Author Holly Hamann

Holly Hamann serves as Automox's Chief Marketing Officer and is an entrepreneur and start-up veteran. She has helped launch six tech companies in the social media, content, video, and marketing software industries and specializes in SaaS software marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. She is an American Marketing Association "Marketer of the Year" recipient and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.

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