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Patches are one of the most important aspects of your technology. As with anything, technology is constantly changing, so shouldn’t your software? Today we will discuss three tips, sharing advice on optimizing your patch management process.
Having a procedure is the best way to promote organization in your business. Routine patches can have a predetermined day of the month, even down to the exact minute patches will begin to be installed. With a routine patch process, it is likely that your business will stay free of vulnerabilities.
However, in the event that an impending threat is evident; an emergency patch procedure will ensure your business is prepared. While patch management might not be the most prioritized business concern, it is better to be prepared.
These emergency patches, and all routine patches should be thoroughly tested.
Testing is the most underthought process regarding patches. If a patch is available, typically a business will download them without hesitation, and without testing. How can you be certain the patch you are installing will not impede with your business’ productivity? In a word, testing.
Testing does not require you to pull all of your staff from their projects and begin testing every time a patch is available. A simple virtualized environment, where the patch can be implemented and stress tested, is all it takes. However, testing should be given enough time to produce trustworthy results. Simply applying a patch and waiting a few minutes without opening the application the patch was produced for, doesn’t qualify as a successful test instance.
Without any sort of testing, you just don’t know how well the patch will work, or if it will interfere with another process.
Microsoft famously hosts Patch Tuesday. This is typically the second or fourth Tuesday of each month, depending on the patching needs. Other manufacturing companies also release their patches on (sometimes) predictable schedules. Being informed on release dates allows your business to set up procedures which synchronize with your hardware or software brands.