Do You Actually Test Patches Prior to Deployment?

After last week's Microsoft Updates, and today's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announcements regarding VMWare Vulnerabilities, the question comes up regarding how is your organization handling patching?  And how safe do you feel regarding unpatched vulnerabilities?

I ask these questions because this year we saw 160% increase in zero day attacks from 2020-2021 with 80 zero-day exploits compared to approximately 30 in 2020.  This isn't a surprise, we see an increase of security threats year after year, but this is a problem that takes more than just your Security Engineers to resolve - you absolutely need to involve your support team, your server and desktop teams, and possibly even project management to schedule these updates.  For larger organizations, the hassle of patching is looking like a near weekly event with some of the more severe exploits that are showing up in the wild.  But, with the continuous increase in patches available to solve these exploits - how are you testing them?  Or do you even have time to?

Having a Test Environment

A majority of organizations cite downtime concerns as a primary reason they are not patching adequately, and as many security exploits can be resolved through simple patching - this becomes a difficult conundrum.  How do you apply patches while avoiding costly downtime?  Test environments help solve this problem - by having a subset of workstations and servers that you can test patches and upgrades on before they go into your production environment.  These systems can be monitored and reviewed for any issues.  These are often "super users" (users that IT departments have a relationship with or users who are willing and able to communicate problems they experience or notice quickly) that allow a good understanding of whether or not a patch will impact day to day business for a company.

This can be a costly proposition, however, as current demands of patching can soon become a full-time job.  Having to manage and maintain the workstations and servers, communicate with users to determine if problems are being experienced, and report and review ongoing security threats that might require additional patches and deployment.  Further, deploying patches is a time-consuming process that can eat up an IT organizations time and resources if they become frequent.  Often it can take days or weeks for a patch update to complete across an organization - with users having devices turned off, hidden away at their homes, or locked up in an out of town executive's office that can interfere with that 100% updated situation.

Security Requires Effective Patch Management

Although this has been true for years now, it is critical to understand that keeping track of zero-day exploits and maintaining critical security patches is a HUGE requirement in today's cybersecurity world.  And if a business is not running the latest patches that have known security vulnerabilities - it can be critical to have a quick response to any otherwise anomalous security threats.

London Security has helped our customers mitigate these concerns and stop-gap security threats during patching cycles through our Actionable MDR services.  We can take quick action to lockdown systems experiencing strange security behaviors prior to them spreading or infecting more than a single system.

Our engineers have helped many businesses build effective security processes to help cover these security gaps and make sure that there is little to no downtime over the course of a security update by providing effective security management solutions and effective day-to-day security processes that will assist your teams and allow them to focus their time and energy on different IT Projects.

Looking for a little more confidence during your patch cycle?  Would you like to know someone is actually monitoring your systems and environment for potential threats and activity?  Contact us today through the comments below, or email for more information!