How to Prepare Your IT Team for Patch Tuesday

Mar 03, 2021

For many IT experts, the second Tuesday of every month signifies a busy day or the start of a busy few days. However, should that be the case? Patch Tuesday, as it’s known, is when many big technology vendors release software updates that address the security defects that have been discovered in the previous weeks.

Primarily started by Microsoft, many other companies make use of the same day to announce and release new updates. Among these tech companies are Oracle, Adobe and SAP. The subsequent installation of code to close up security holes may lead to lost working hours, network slowdowns and lost sleep hours for the teams tasked with keeping the technological wheels of the industry running smoothly.

On the recent Patch Tuesday, Microsoft's most outstanding new desktop arrival, the Edge browser, required patching. This may be a sign of things to come. Its Chromium foundations are recognized to be complicated and have different dependencies, all of which have their own update cadences. This may be a potential issue for companies that make use of Edge to connect to cloud services. Therefore, the IT team must be aware of this issue and take the necessary steps to combat any security vulnerabilities.

Microsoft's undertaking each month is remarkable when considering the number of products in the wild that originate from Redmond: multiple server platforms, ARM-based versions of Windows, SharePoint, SQL instances, Exchange, 32- and 64-bit architectures; the list is diverse enough to cover any area of modern and non-modern computing.

Nearly all companies in the world are affected by Patch Tuesday, and the resources needed to keep up with rolling out security patches and security updates are significant. Going over that level of relative safety takes more time and money, which many companies don’t have. Many security breaches originate from unpatched cases. Therefore, applying all updates should be a priority. The difficulty comes when updates lead to a break in services and applications.

Consequently, how can your IT team prepare for Patch Tuesday? Many IT professionals and end-users are ready to get the needed Windows updates at the right time. But what can they do differently to make safety easier and cheaper?

Use the Tools Provided

A major point in the growth and development of many companies will have been altered using a mish-mash of operating systems that have been installed on the desktop when it was purchased.

Moving from a mixed environment of Windows Home and Pro, Windows 7, Vista, and ME to a formal licensing agreement for the OS from Microsoft will reinforce the organization’s legal standing based on licensed and legitimate software. Additionally, it would have given IT team administrators access to resources that are designed to provide solutions through vulnerabilities remediation.

Automated tools like WSUS are typically free as long as admins have a spare IIS and Microsoft Management Console box on hand, which helps to eradicate network loads. Security update and security patches can be downloaded at once by the WSUS instance and dispersed locally to each end-point (client).

The solution does not necessarily have to use the Active Directory chart to ensure its proper operation. All that is needed is an enterprise-licensed version of a supported Windows operating system.

Outsource the Problem Areas

Another option is to take advantage of the increasing power of remote computing resources and quick networks that connect to the cloud. Virtualizing desktop environments is an old model. However, over the last 20 years, it’s not the one that has been used greatly.

This is a result of many factors, the dominating one being the relative cheapness of hardware that can run applications locally. In the XaaS era, having a powerhouse on one’s desk may not be necessary.

Putting the responsibility of desktop security onto a third-party which can be bound by KPIs and other contractual responsibilities, end-users can be equipped with fairly cheap hardware that only needs to display what is being processed in another place.

In order to ensure that the headache of security issues is not replaced by poor service issues, careful planning and partner choice are essential. You can start with the performance metrics and security policies of prospective providers. These should be offered without any restrictions, and if not, you can move on to a provider that does.

Migrate Software Away

For cybersecurity and IT teams, the term ‘industry standard’ when used with software platforms often means the biggest target. Moving away from the most common software platforms can offer a high amount of protection by dint of comparative obscurity. While no piece of software or hardware is exempted from inherent security flaws or cyber-attacks, if an organization offers a less enticing target than its competitors, it may escape a great deal of hostile attention.

Increasingly, file formats and platforms that were once locked-in and proprietary have had to open up to be more compatible with other vendors’ solutions. It’s ideal to consider these on a platform-by-platform basis.

Interoperability offers different options from web services to software firewalls, office suites to graphic formats, and SQL to virtualization techniques. The main choice for many of these technologies is often established not by the usefulness of any solution or the essential technical solidity but by the resources thrown behind the solution’s marketing team. Looking beyond the initial solution that jumps to the front of one’s mind can pay dividends.

In most cases, organizations can not only save themselves major resources by avoiding security issues that concern everyone but also escape from expensive license contracts that seem to be known as a necessary evil. The cost of licenses can be re-assigned to purposes that are in the interest of the organization rather than that of the vendor’s shareholders.

Do you want to learn more about Patch Tuesday and help your IT team to prepare for Patch Tuesday? If yes, Vicarius is your go-to cybersecurity company. Topia is a vulnerability management software that targets cybersecurity officers and operators, as well as IT managers and operators from the U.S. market.

 

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Written by

Kent Weigle

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